Tom Van Asbroeck finished off Tour de la Provence in victorious style for Israel – Premier Tech as he won the decimated sprint on stage 3 in Arles. Hugo Hofstetter finished in fourth place.
“It’s just incredible! I still felt good after two hard days of racing so I was really motivated for this one”, Van Asbroeck explained after the stage, beaming with excitement and surprise.
Despite an unfortunate start to the day, with yesterday’s protagonist Marco Frigo, Riley Pickrell and Riley Sheehan (fourth overall) not starting due to stomach problems, the remaining four IPT riders were extremely motivated to end the race on a strong note.
Knowing that the race could split in the crosswind, in the second part of the stage, the team made sure to be attentive and when the peloton did in fact blow apart, both Van Asbroeck and Hofstetter were in the first group.
“We knew there could be echelons and echelons are one of my favorite things so we were ready. In the end, the plan was actually for me to do a lead out for Hugo but I had so much power in my legs so I just kept going and going and going. I can’t believe I won this stage. It’s amazing!”
Sports director, Oscar Guerrero, was full of praise for how the team handled the difficult start to the day and managed to turn the page quickly to focus on today’s challenging day.
“We started this morning with bad news with three riders not starting and that meant that we lost our two main guys in the GC, and the KOM jersey. We tried to move on as fast as possible and motivate the four guys to do the best race possible because we had confidence today with the echelons and the sprint, knowing that Hugo and Tom had a real option to fight for the victory. The guys were switched on and they were very concentrated all day, ready for all the echelons and were always in the first one.
“In the last kilometers, Tom was taking care of Hugo, to be sure that he was always on the good wheel, they were calm because the headwind was strong in the last kms and they timed it to perfection. Tom’s legs were amazing today.”
With today’s victory Van Asbroeck moved up to 11th in the final general classification. Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) took the overall win.