The Dutchman kept his powder dry and saved an explosive attack until the final 300 meters of a climb-heavy parcours.
And to be sure, the three-day Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var is one for the climbers.
The day’s break escaped nearly from the get-go. Early on, Ineos-Grenadiers took up the chase, with AG2R-Citroën and Trek-Segafredo, and finally Groupama-FDJ doing much of the work to bring the race together before the final 14km climb.
With three ascents of the Col de Gourdon, and a main group that did not give much leash to the break, keeping one’s powder dry was important. And so was knowing when to launch a race-winning attack.
On the bus with Total Direct Énergie’s Alexis Villermoz before the start.
Layering up before rolling out for stage 1.
The race is situated in the southeastern-most part of France, in the Alpes-Maritimes department, in the Côte d’Azur region.
The colors of the peloton brightened the winter landscape, and stood in contrast to the surroundings.
Rohan Denis and Dylan Van Baarle, both of Ineos Grenadiers, did more than a fair share of the work on the front.
While the aqueduct in the background is not of the Roman era, it is ancient by American standards, and avant-garde by French standards!
Tao Geoghegan Hart on the move in his debut with the Ineos Grenadiers.
Geraint Thomas with his nose in the wind, getting some early season miles. Thomas will lead the British-based team at this year’s Tour de France.
Greg Van Avermaet sprinting for second.
Bauke Mollema said post-race, “I knew I had to go early. I had the power, and I didn’t want to be boxed in and lose positions.”
With today’s win at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var, Mollema notches his 15th professional win.