While the third Grand Tour of the season, La Vuelta, is going on in Spain, Bahrain Victorious is poised to take part in another WorldTour fixture. Sunday sees the 92nd edition of the Bretagne Classic – Ouest-France, in Plouay.
The race, formerly known as the ‘Grand Prix de Plouay’, always starts and finishes in the same place, but the parcours itself varies. Nonetheless, with hilly terrain the dominant feature of this Breton region, no matter what the route, it is always challenging. As usual, the peloton will face narrow roads, short but explosive climbs, and twisting descents. Moreover, a distance of around 260km makes this race similar to the Ardennes and suitable for classic specialists. Despite that, there are some sprinters in the historical roll of honour.
“It’s a proper elimination race, and the legs will make the difference at the end.” TBV Sports Director Michal Golas comments, “In this edition, riders will face 38 climbs over 500m, for a total of 4200m of climbing, making the race very hard, as usual. The key will be to keep a regular pace and save energy, especially on the climbs, but positioning is also crucial. We will ride with Jack Haig as leader, but Andrea Pasqualon and Nikias Arndt will give us other cards to play.”
Australian Haig, returning to racing after the Tour de France, has already been on the podium here, finishing 3rd in 2019.
“Our goal for this edition is the top 5.” Golas points out. “Besides Haig, who can follow bigger moves and use his endurance in the finale, our road captain Nikias can adapt his race to how our guys feel. A rider with Pasqualon’s skills can also do well on this kind of course and can have a free role, like anticipating the big moves.
All will be protected and supported by our other riders: Edoardo Zambanini, Rainer Kepplinger, who’s done well recently, Johan Price-Pejtersen, who also showed great commitment and good shape during the Renewi Tour, and Jonathan Milan.
We will be committed and active from the start, trying to create a situation where we have numbers in the final.”
The course includes an 800m gravel sector on the ascent of Le Helles, just after halfway, followed by the day’s longer and harder climbs. In the last 60km, there will be no time for recovery, and the denouement will be decisive. The finishing 11.7km circuit contains three explosive ascents, with the last one 4km out. They are tough enough to be selective before the line in Plouay, where a reduced bunch or a breakaway group is expected to fight for victory.