French rider Lloyd Mondory delivered the first win of the season for Ag2r-La Mondiale after taking the flowers in Thursday’s second stage at the Étoile de Bessèges in southern France.
Mondory won ahead of compatriot and teammate Anthony Ravard with Slovenian Aldo Ilesic of Team Type 1 crossing the line third. The victory in the 145km run from Nimes to Saint-Ambroix was Mondory’s first since 2008 and just his third as a pro.
“This is a surprise because I didn’t even have time to raise my arms. It’s nice to win because Anthony (Ravard) just missed the win yesterday. The job was the same today, the whole team worked for Anthony. My job was to lead him to the line but I asked if I could make my own sprint,” Mondory said. “It’s a great way to start the season.”
Ravard takes over the leader’s jersey in the five-stage race with Mondory slotting into second at two seconds back. Wednesday’s winner, Yauheni Hutarovich, moves into third, also at two seconds adrift, while Ilesic climbs into fifth overall at eight seconds back.
It’s the second day in a row that Team Type 1 has made a strong showing. Laszlo Bodrogi featured in the day’s main breakaway in Wednesday’s first stage followed by Ilesic’s shove for victory in Thursday’s second stage.
lesic, from Slovenia, said the final six laps on a finishing circuit in Saint Ambroix were fast and unpredictable, but the slightly uphill finish suited his style of power sprinting.
“The circuits were especially tricky, and there was a 2k climb every lap. The team tried to stay as far forward as possible, and there was always somebody with me going up, ” Ilesic said in a team release. “The final K was a downhill first and then a left turn with 300 meters to go. I hit that turn second and then just gave it full gas, otherwise I would have been swarmed.
“There’s always room for improvement, but the team is really competitive and we have a lot of confidence that we’re going to keep getting better.”
Spain’s Javier Megias of Team Type 1 said the group rode at a steady tempo in anticipation of a bunch finish.
“We knew it was going to come down to a sprint, because FDJ really started to wind it up when we hit the circuits. The last four laps were full gas. Every day we’re riding better and the rest of the week looks great,” Megias said in a team release.
Megias, who has type 1 diabetes, has to monitor his blood glucose level constantly with a radio-frequency implant on his tricep and an electronic device he keeps in a jersey pocket. He said his diabetes management on Thursday was much easier than during the first stage.
“I started the race in a good position, maybe 140-150, and at the finish today I was a lot happier because the wind was calm and I could take my hands off the handlebars and see my Navigator. Today was a calm stage, and everybody was ready for a fast finish,” Megias said.