After Minali’s 6th place in the flat opening stage, the second stage of the Tour de l’Ain (2.1, 29-31/7) was even more successful for Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux. 136 kilometer with four categorized climbs were on the menu. A duo escaped from the peloton after the start in Lagnieu and before the first slopes of the Col de Corlier. Many breakaway attempts succeeded each other, leaving only a small amount of riders in the peloton on the plateau between this climb and the top of the Col de Ballon.
Neo pro Théo Delacroix attacked on the downhill, before being caught with 45 kilometer to go by a group of around 50 riders with Jan Hirt and Georg Zimmermann. Somewhat later, the German rider followed the example of his teammate on the slopes of the Col d’Ordonnaz. However, when his attack was neutralized, he missed a breakaway of five riders. The fifteen remaining chasers worked well together in the descent of the Col de Portet, with the top situated at 1001 meter of altitude, but didn’t manage to close the 20 second gap to the leaders. Except for Georg Zimmermann, who bridged to the leaders in the final 4 kilometer. He defeated his five breakaway companions with a long sprint in the streets of Saint-Vulbas. The 23 year old German rider took his first pro victory and also becomes the new race leader.
This Saturday, the Tour de l’Ain will be concluded by the queen stage between Izernore and Lélex Monts-Jura. This third stage is a succession of descents and ascents, like the Côte de Giron (3.7km at 7.4%) and the Col de Menthières (9.1km at 6.3%). The last named climb is the last of five categorized climbs with the top situated 22 kilometer before the finish. However, the 12 final kilometer towards Lélex Monts-Jura are also uphill.
Photo: Tour de l’Ain