Jasper Philipsen celebrates after winning the third stage of the Tour du Limousin on Thursday.
Jasper Philipsen took his first win of the season with a dominating performance by UAE Team Emirates on stage 3 of the Tour du Limousin. The Belgian timed his move to perfection with a burst of power in the closing 200m to come around Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ) for a clear victory, just 24 hours after his teammate Fernando Gaviria claimed the teams first win of the race.
Rui Costa made the first decisive move on the final climb of the Cote de la Trassoudaine with 13km left to race in a select group of 4 riders.
The group would swell on the descent with the Emirati squad taking control of the bunch with 4km to go. Philipsen surfed the wheels until the uphill kick, guided by teammate Costa, before claiming his maiden win of the season and the 18th win for the team.
Costa finished 8th on the stage also, and holds onto 8th in the General Classification 16’’ behind race leader Luca Wackermann (Vini-Zabu).
Philipsen : “It was a really hard stage with the most meters of climbing than any other day this week.For me it was a push to be there in the final but we had a strong team and the guys controlled it for me nicely in the last kilometres.
“Fernando was really good yesterday and it gave me motivation to do something also today. I am happy my condition is growing and that I could finish it off with a win.
“I didn’t so much expect a win this week but I hoped it would come. The last couple of years I’ve had a lot of top-5s and podiums so to finally get another win is satisfying.” Tomorrow’s final stage will take the riders from Lac de Saint-Pardoux to Limoges (167k) in what is set to be another sprint finale.
Earlier, on the day of his 26th birthday, Fernando Gaviria put in an emphatic display of strength to win stage 2 of the Tour du Limousin in France.
In a finish marked by narrow roads with punchy climbs, Gaviria saw himself with strong legs, jumping from the bunch and countering the many attacks on the run-in inside 12km to go.
With 25km still left to go, the gap to the breakaway hovered at around 2’30 but with some strong pulls on the front from team captain Marco Marcato and his other UAE teammates the gap was quickly reduced to the three escapees.
The key move came just a kilometre from the line, when Joel Suter (Bingoal- Wallonie Bruxelles) moved clear with Gaviria quickly jumping on his wheel. The Colombian unleashed his trademark sprint with 200m to go to win comfortably and claim the teams 17th victory of the season.
Joel Suter now leads the General Classification with Rui Costa in 9th place at 16’’.
Gaviria: “I’m very happy about today. It’s the best birthday present I could have asked for. Yesterday was just that little bit too hard for me on the second last climb but I looked at the course today and knew it would suit me better.
“It was a complicated finish. It was important to stay near the front on the narrow roads on the run-in to the line, even if it meant jumping off the front and following attacks , as I did. I’m happy the legs were there to be able to do it.
“At the moment I’m building up to the big goal which is the Giro d’Italia, but there are a lot of races I want to do well in before then.”
Meanwhile, in a brave performance, Diego Ulissi battled to a podium finish on the brutally hard uphill finish at the Giro Dell’ Emilia (1.Pro) from Casalecchio di Reno San Luca (199.7k).
The Italian went into the race in good form, coming in after an 8th place at Il Lombardia and 2nd in Gran Piemonte the week previous.
The victory on the day went to Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) after he caught and passed lone escapee João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) on the stiff final climb to San Luca above Bologna.
Ulissi: “Today I gave my best, even though I found myself drifting and coming back to the group at times I tried to keep a consistent effort for the whole race, especially when it got hard. In the final I used all my remaining strength on the last climb, giving my best and earning a spot on the podium.”
Ulissi and his Italian UAE Team Emirates teammates will now turn their attention to the Italian National Championships which take place on Aug.23 with a lap from Bassano del Grappa to Cittadella (254km).
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