Tour du Haut-Var: Brambilla hits twice

Solo winner of the third and final stage of the Tour du Haut-Var, Gianluca Brambilla was able to widen a gap sufficient to snatch the leader’s jersey from the shoulders of Michael Woods and win the event.

It was time for the last explanation on the Tour du Haut-Var. In the aftermath of Michael Woods’ authoritarian victory at the top of the Mur de Fayence, the cards were reshuffled on a 134-kilometer course traced around Blausasc with the Col de la Madone as justice of the peace. A tough course that made the business of Gianluca Brambilla who, after finishing alone, was able to savor his fifth professional success. A stage that first started with a dramatic twist. Due to a case of coronavirus in its ranks and as a precaution, the St Michel-Auber 93 team has given up taking the start. Once the zero kilometer passed, several breakaway attempts shook the peloton but the Israel Start-Up Nation formation kept watch. The good start of this day was launched by Rudy Molard, who then saw six other riders including Hugo Houle, Anthony Perez, Julien El Farès or Quentin Pacher join him. A second against, notably with the winner of the last Giro Tao Geoghegan Hart, was formed before another group with Valentin Madouas, Nans Peter, Alexis Vuillermoz and Gianluca Brambilla broke away from the peloton.

The Groupama-FDJ at the forefront

Once the situation was settled at the head of the race, it was a group of sixteen riders who were formed and who saw the peloton initially give them only one minute in advance. It was only after passing the top of the first difficulty of this stage that the peloton left more latitude to this breakaway… which did not have an exceptional understanding with David de la Cruz who did not hesitate to play his personal card. The ascent then the descent of the Col de Braus enabled twelve riders, including three from the Groupama-FDJ formation, to form a new leading group with a margin of three minutes on a vigilant but not worried peloton. The first slopes of the Col de la Madone allowed Bruno Armirail to engage to lead the leading group which gradually lost members while the peloton, under the leadership of the Israel Start-Up Nation team , has also been scattered in puzzle style. Dan Martin took to the board for Michael Woods while, in front, Valentin Madouas attacked and took Gianluca Brambilla with him. Sensing the threat, the wearer of the leader’s jersey took responsibility 25 kilometers from the finish, before the summit of Col de la Madone.

The total for Brambilla

Unlisted, the climb of the Col du Pelletier was an opportunity for Gianluca Brambilla to irremediably outrun Valentin Madouas, who was then taken over by a duo made up of Tao Geoghegan Hart and Rudy Molard. The descent of the Col de Nice, the last unlisted difficulty of the course, saw Valentin Madouas go to the ground in a switchback, leaving his teammate Rudy Molard to lead the chase alone behind the leader of the race. For Gianluca Brambilla, it was all a question of gap with Michael Woods for a final victory in the general classification. The Italian was only 13 seconds behind the Canadian at the start of the stage while no bonus is distributed on this Tour du Haut-Var. Never caught up, Gianluca Brambilla offered himself a solo victory with 13 seconds ahead of his main pursuers but Michael Woods, for his part, left five more seconds on the way. This last stage thus sees the rider of the Trek-Segafredo team making a double blow with the victory in the general classification for five seconds on Michael Woods and six on his teammate Bauke Mollema, winner of the first stage. First Frenchman of this last stage, Rudy Molard finished fourth overall.

3rd stage – Blausasc-Blausasc (134km) – Sunday February 21, 2021
1- Gianluca Brambilla (ITA / Trek-Segafredo) in 3h43’32 ”
2- Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR / Ineos Grenadiers) at 13 ”
3- Ben O’Connor (AUS / AG2R-Citroën) at 13 ”
4- Rudy Molard (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 13 ”
5- Valentin Madouas (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 13 ”
6- Jakob Fuglsang (DAN / Astana-Premier Tech) at 18 ”
7- David Gaudu (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 18 ”
8- Bauke Mollema (PBS / Trek-Segafredo) at 18 ”
9- Nairo Quintana (COL / Arkéa-Samsic) at 18 ”
10- Michael Woods (CAN / Israel Start-Up Nation) at 18 ”

Final general classification
1- Gianluca Brambilla (ITA / Trek-Segafredo) in 12h51’00 ”
2- Michael Woods (CAN / Israel Start-Up Nation) at 5 ”
3- Bauke Mollema (PBS / Trek-Segafredo) at 6 ”
4- Rudy Molard (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 9 ”
5- David Gaudu (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 11 ”
6- Ben O’Connor (AUS / AG2R-Citroën) at 11 ”
7- Valentin Madouas (FRA / Groupama-FDJ) at 13 ”
8- Jakob Fuglsang (DAN / Astana-Premier Tech) at 18 ”
9- Nairo Quintana (COL / Arkéa-Samsic) at 18 ”
10- Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR / Ineos Grenadiers) at 26 ”