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Italian emerges as the strongest on uphill finishing straight and holds off Sanz and Simon to take first professional win while Elmiger defends his yellow jersey

Photo: Sirotti

ANDREA PASQUALON

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ENRIQUE SANZ UNZUE

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JULIEN SIMON

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TOUR DU LIMOUSIN

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VF GROUP - BARDIANI CSF

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21.08.2013 @ 18:07 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In his third season as professional, Andrea Pasqualon (Bardiani) finally took his first win as a professional when he won the second stage of the Tour de Limousin. In a tough uphill sprint, he beat Enrique Sanz (Movistar) and Julien Simon (Sojasun) while Martin Elmiger (IAM) finished safely in the bunch to defend his leader's jersey with two hilly stages remaining.

 

Andrea Pasqualon has often shown that his a fast rider in an uphill sprint but so far victory has eluded the 25-year old Italian. Today he finally took his first win as a professional when he emerged as the strongest in one of his preferred finishes.

 

The Italian had stayed in the bunch throughout a tough day in Limousin which had very few metres of flat roads on a stage that was almost always up or down. He asked his team to assist in the chase of lone Stephane Rossetto (BigMat) who had done an outstanding job to keep the peloton at bay.

 

With 3km to go, the young Frenchman was finally reeled in and all was set for a sprint on the uphill finishing straight. Pasqualon proved his abilities as a fast finisher by beating sprinter Enrique Sanz and another uphill specialist Julien Simon.

 

Martin Elmiger's IAM team had done most of the chase work on the very hot day and in the end, they were rewarded for their efforts. The Swiss finished safely in the bunch and so remains leader of the race. He will try to defend his position in tomorrow's stage which should be the toughest of the entire race with three categorized climb on a route that is always up and down and finishes with another uphill straight.

 

An early attack

The 185,7km 2nd stage was of the classic Tour de Limousin stages which are mostly up and down but have no big climbs. The stage finished with a long gradual uphill section which would make for a tough end to the stage.

 

After yesterday's festival of attacks, the peloton was more calm today. Very early, Ricardo Garcia (Euskaltel), Yohann Gene (Europcar), Frederic Brun (Ag2r) and Theo Vimpere (BigMat) got clear and those four riders were allowed to build up a 4-minute gap.

 

IAM in control

The IAM team kept the gap stable at around that mark for a long time while Brun did a good job to win both of today's KOM sprints. Vimpere was unlucky to suffer a mechanical and so fell back into the peloton.

 

La Pomme Marseille had big plans for Yannick Martinez and so they decided to put down the hammer. The increased pace and the hilly terrain saw the peloton splinter into pieces as many riders fell off the pace, former Vuelta champion Juan Jose Cobo (Movistar) being one of the first to get dropped.

 

New attacks

The acceleration from the French team reduced the gap to less than 30 seconds and this prompted Marco Bandiera (IAM) and Antoine Lavieu (La Pomme Marseille) to go on the attack. They caught the front trio and Lavieu left everybody behind a few moments later.

 

While his former companions were all caught, Hubert Dupont, Rossetto and Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil) joined him on the day's final climb while Maxime Mederel (Sojasun) bridged across on the descent. The quintet was allowed to build up a two-minute gap on the peloton which was still led by IAM.

 

Rossetto goes off on his own

Bardiani Valvole joined forces with the Swiss team but they had difficulty reducing the gap. Nonetheless, Rossetto decided that he didn't want any company, going off on his own with 25km to go.

 

He build up a 1.30 gap on his chasers which split into pieces when Lavieu and Mederel fell back to the peloton. In the main group, Sojasun and Europcar had now taken responsibility for the chase and with 15km to go, they caught Ligthart and Dupont.

 

Rossetto fades

Rossetto still had a 1.45 gap and the young Frenchman seemed to have a got chance of taking a surprise win. However, he started to fade on the final long uphill straight while the peloton kept the pace high.

 

With 3km to go, it was all over for the BigMat rider and instead all was set for a bunch sprint. Pasqualon emerged as the strongest while Elmiger finished safely in the bunch to defend his lead.

 

Result:

1. Andrea Pasqualon

2. Enrique Sanz

3. Julien Simon

4. Matthieu Ladagnous

5. Mattia Pozzo

6. Laurent Pichon

7. Giovanni Visconti

8. Maurits Lammertink

9. Marco Coledan

10. Steven Tronet

 

General classification:

1. Martin Elmiger

 

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