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Tour de l'Avenir - Stage 9
 
By Andy McGrath
Date: 9/11/2004
Tour de l'Avenir - Stage 9
 

After the big mountain stage, there was a slight respite for the riders. But it would still be a tricky day, with five climbs on a very undulating parcours; a stage designed to trouble Maxim Iglinsky, who would have to be ever-watchful to stay in yellow.

Like yesterday, eight men made the first breakaway, which included talented sprinter Geoffrey Lequatre (Crédit Agricole), Brioches la Boulangere's Anthony Geslin as well as Petter Renang (Bianchi Nordic) and Rabobank espoir Bas Giling. The sprinter in the group, Lequatre, led through two intermediate sprints before Geslin leapt away to solo over a couple of climbs. However, that break along with Geslin was pulled back, allowing his teammate Maryan Hary to accelerate on Col de la Croix de la Serra. Behind a group including American Saul Raisin, Vlaanderen's Wim van Huffel and Rabobank espoir Theo Eltink crossed 55 seconds behind the Frenchman and just thirty ahead of the pack.

Hary tried to extend his advantage over the Col de la Sur Semine, but his chasers plunged down the descent fearlessly and caught him. Nonetheless, the six in front worked well together on the long haul down to the finish in Bellegarde, punctuated briefly by a few uphill portions. The gap began to stick at 45 seconds as the peloton fought to close the gap more, despite the gradient evening things out (rather than evening out itself). With 15km to go, the gap was down to half a minute, but the bunch still couldn't make inroads into the break's lead with ease, despite Maxim Iglinsky and Team Capec's efforts on the front. Under the flamme rouge, the break had 15 seconds - but that was when the road shot uphill.

With 300m to go, Theo Eltink - a fast sprinter - burned off Wim van Huffel, himself not so slow in a group finish, with a long attack uphill, with Hary third five seconds back. The bunch itself split up on entering Bellegarde-sur-Valserine uphill, with Christophe le Mevel bridging the gap to the escapees on the tricky finish to leap into fourth overall, while Iglinsky led home the bunch 14 seconds down, to maintain his lead, despite some of the other top ten riders gaining a few seconds.
It's 22 year old Eltink's first victory of the season, although he had a couple of podium finishes in stages of the Tour de l'Ain (2.3) in bunch sprints. Buoyed by today's result, the young Dutchman has moved to ninth overall and is doing the best of the Rabobank contingent. Tomorrow sees the final stage around Le Grand Bornand, with climb after climb in the last half to exhaust the riders physically and mentally - and with seven riders within a minute, any slip from Maxim Iglinsky will be fatal for his winning chances. Can the plucky Kazakh hold on, or will someone else snatch victory?

Stage 9 - Morteau-Bellegarde-sur-Valserine, 174km - Top 20
1 164 ELTINK Theo NED RB3 4h 14' 57"
2 145 VAN HUFFEL Wim BEL VLA 00' 02"
3 011 HARY Maryan FRA BLB 00' 05"
4 091 LOPEZ GARCIA David ESP BAQ 00' 05"
5 054 LE MEVEL Christophe FRA C.A 00' 05"
6 131 DUENAS NEVADO Moises ESP REB 00' 08"
7 146 WILLEMS Frederik BEL VLA 00' 08"
8 196 VAN KATWIJK Alain NED BGL 00' 08"
9 151 TALABARDON Yannick FRA MIX 00' 08"
10 136 VAN HECKE Preben BEL REB 00' 12"
11 031 LÖVKVIST Thomas SWE FDJ 00' 12"
12 181 IGLINSKIY Maxim KAZ CAP 00' 14"
13 084 PICHLER Michael AUT AUT 00' 14"
14 003 FERNANDEZ Koldo ESP EUS 00' 14"
15 205 KVASINA Matija CRO PER 00' 14"
16 192 BAK Lars DEN BGL 00' 14"
17 143 MERTENS Pieter BEL VLA 00' 14"
18 081 RUCKER Stephan AUT AUT 00' 14"
19 042 BURGHARDT Marcus GER GER 00' 14"
20 172 BAK Glenn DEN TBN 00' 14"

General Classification after Stage 9
1 181 IGLINSKIY Maxim KAZ CAP 33h 47' 11"
2 205 KVASINA Matija CRO PER 00' 03"
3 111 CALZATI Sylvain FRA RAG 00' 20"
4 054 LE MEVEL Christophe FRA C.A 00' 42"
5 131 DUENAS NEVADO Moises ESP REB 00' 43"
6 031 LÖVKVIST Thomas SWE FDJ 00' 43"
7 151 TALABARDON Yannick FRA MIX 00' 49"
8 091 LOPEZ GARCIA David ESP BAQ 01' 01"
9 164 ELTINK Theo NED RB3 01' 04"
10 171 RENANG Petter SWE TBN 01' 06"
11 011 HARY Maryan FRA BLB 01' 12"
12 132 CESAR VELOSO Gustavo ESP REB 01' 31"
13 211 CHRISTENSEN Mads DEN TPH 01' 38"
14 192 BAK Lars DEN BGL 01' 44"
15 202 DANCULOVIC Tomislav CRO PER 01' 46"
16 081 RUCKER Stephan AUT AUT 01' 47"
17 143 MERTENS Pieter BEL VLA 01' 51"
18 065 RAISIN Saul USA USA 02' 05"
19 146 WILLEMS Frederik BEL VLA 02' 08"
20 016 SPRICK Matthieu FRA BLB 02' 08"

Points Competition
1 012 CHAVANEL Sébastien FRA BLB 150 pts
2 051 LEQUATRE Geoffroy FRA C.A 117 pts
3 033 RENSHAW Mark AUS FDJ 83 pts

King of the Mountains Competition
1 151 TALABARDON Yannick FRA MIX 56 pts
2 126 VRANA Kamil CZE CZE 49 pts
3 125 MARES Martin CZE CZE 35 pts

Best Team Competition
1 BRIOCHES LA BOULANGERE BLB 00' 00"
2 VLAANDEREN - T INTERIM VLA 00' 48"
3 RUSSIE RUS 00' 43"

Thanks to letour.com for info and results.

 
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