Ineos Grenadiers lit up the action and dominated the third stage of the Tour de la Provence on Saturday.
The British squad resurrected the “mountain train” through the early pitches of the climb to Chalet Reynard, some 15 kilometers up the slopes of the Ventoux. With the bunch suitably thinned, Iván Sosa punched clear and went unchallenged to score a solo victory, while behind, Egan Bernal outfoxed a battling Julian Alaphilippe to take second place.
Sosa also took the GC lead by 19 seconds. With only a sprint stage remaining Sunday, the 23-year-old is perfectly poised to secure the overall victory and make it two wins in two years for Colombian riders after Nairo Quintana took the honors in 2020.
The race played out in near-freezing temperatures that had nearly forced organizers to cut the finish at Chalet Reynard after overnight snow.
A brave breakaway got away in the opening hour, but the testing climb of the Ventoux made it more a move for the sponsors rather than a bid for victory.
Davide Ballerini enjoyed his last day in the Mondrian-inspired race leader’s jersey.
Provence looked at its wintery best as the parcours wound its way through the hills below the Ventoux.
Ineos Grenadiers cranked the tempo through the mist-shrouded slopes of the climb from Bédoin and the group soon thinned.
Sosa struck out at five kilometers to go and went unchallenged to score a solo victory.
Alaphilippe put up a brave chase after Sosa went clear, but Bernal sat on the world champ’s wheel to up the odds of his teammate securing the win.
Sosa steps into the GC lead with just one sprint stage remaining.