Jakob Fuglsang soloed to victory in Mercan’Tour Classic after a strong performance by the whole Israel – Premier Tech team, which saw Michael Woods take second place after his teammate.
“We came here with a strong team and it was a pleasure to race today. I’m really happy I could finish off the hard work from the guys”, Fuglsang said after crossing the finishing line. “The start of the season was a bit difficult for me so I’m super relieved and happy to be able to win this race.”
Knowing that the mountainous French one-day race suited the team very well, the IPT riders were quick to take control after the morning breakaway took off, making sure that the gap never got out of hand.
On the slopes of the penultimate climb of the day, Col de la Couillole, the team upped the pace once again, thinning out the peloton significantly and ultimately catching the breakaway. At the top of the ascent, only 15 riders remained in the peloton. Amongst them; Fuglsang, Woods and also Chris Froome.
The front group kept a high pace on the final climb, Col de Valberg, and with 6.5 kilometers left to go, Fuglsang put in a powerful attack.
Nobody was able to respond to the acceleration from the Dane and he sailed away to take his first victory for Israel – Premier Tech. Woods did well to control the chasers behind Fuglsang, before sprinting to second place, making it first and second for IPT on the podium.
“I think the result speaks for itself today”, sports director Zak Dempster said after the race. “It was a super good day for the team and we have to enjoy this one. Going into the race, we had a really clear plan to make a selection and give ourselves a numerical advantage. The guys were great and especially James Piccoli had a really good day, causing a big selection on the climbs.”
“Everybody knows that it has been a complicated first part of the season for us so it was great to see the guys to come back like that with this kind of attitude. From now on, we only look forward.”