Stewart high-flying
9 August 2022

Jake Stewart (Groupama FDJ) won in the sprint after a lively race. He won three of the four distinctive jerseys, including that of the leader.

The sprinters and their teams have got into the habit of reserving the first stage of the Tour de l’Ain in the flatlands. Would the presence of two ribs at the end of the course change this tradition? The race was lively without waiting for these difficulties. During the first hour, the seasoned Tim Wellens (31 years old, Lotto Soudal) and Stefan Bissegger (EF Education-Easy Post) accompanied by Mattis Lebeau, also 23 years old, pro trainee at Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur, escaped . The gap with the peloton climbed to nearly 3min40s then narrowed as the peloton was organized led by Groupama FDJ, Cofidis, Trek Segafredo and Saint-Michel Auber 93.

Fifty kilometers from the finish, the trio had barely 2min30s ahead then at the entrance to the final circuit, 1min30s. Bissegger crossed the first passage alone over the finish line and the Esses coast (2.6 km at 5.4%) at the foot of which his breakaway companions were caught up. At km 30, the peloton under the impetus of ambitious teams, increased the pace and returned to 30s. The efforts of the Swiss fellow for his third participation in the Tour de l’Ain were not rewarded 24 km from the finish. The price of the combative goes to him.

Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team), Ryan Gibbons (UAE) and Alejandro Ropero (Eolo Kometa) counter-attacked immediately but barely held on for five kilometers. The offensives were ephemeral except that of Nicolas Debeaumarché (Saint-Michel Auber 93) at km 18. The 24-year-old runner was joined by Anthony Delaplace (Team Arkea-Samsic) and Cristian Rodriguez Martin (Total Energies). Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team took control on the Plain Champ climb (1.5 km at 5%). Julian Alaphilippe gauged himself in the lead. Rémi Cavagna (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team) attacked but was joined by the peloton close to the line. Jake Stewart was the first to cross the finish line, narrowly ahead of Romain Cardis (Saint-Michel Auber 93) then Stan Van Tricht, the sprint asset of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team, the local Geoffrey Soupe (Total Energies) and Axel Mariault (Team U Nantes-Atlantique). Revengeful in relation to fate, the 22-year-old Briton rewards the work of his Groupama FDJ team all day long. He wears yellow, green and white jerseys. George Bennett grabs the best climber’s tunic.

Numbers :
– 119 starters in this edition, all at the finish of this first stage
– average speed: 45.267 km/h

Next stage, Wednesday August 10: Saint-Vulbas > Lagnieu (142.50 km).

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