Road

Aleksandr Vlasov climbs to victory at Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge

The Russian riding for Astana Pro Team bests Nairo Quintana by nearly two minutes.

Russian road champion Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana Pro Team) won the second edition of the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge on Thursday.

“This is a new year, new team Astana so I’m trained very well in this winter. And I started the season very good,” Vlasov said. “At [Tour de la] Provence I was second, and also I come back here and the win is very fantastic! I am very happy with my shape.”

Vlasov attacked 4.5km from the finish at Col des Tempêtes just before the summit, dropping Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) after 1.5km. He managed to stay about 100 meters ahead of Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) through the finish.

Vlasov, commenting on timing his attack said, “I decided to attack when I saw that other riders were a little bit tired, and I tried why not to see my shape and when I attacked, no one stayed on my wheel so I go full-gas to the finish line.”

Richie Porte chases Vlasov, and managed to limit the damage to 18 seconds by the finish line.
Richie Porte chased Vlasov, and managed to limit the damage to 18 seconds by the finish line. Photo: James Startt

“It’s a good square. When you think about what happened to Jakobsen,” commented Porte, referencing the dramatic crash, Wednesday, of the first stage of the Tour of Poland.

The 24-year-old Vlasov was third at the Route d’Occitanie last weekend.

Vlasov, crediting his team, added, “I was third at the Occitanie so that I know I was in good shape, and we as a team did a very good job for me. So I did my best today.”

Known as the Giant of Provence, Mont Ventoux is a regular feature at the Tour de France due to its challenging, steep slopes above the wind-blasted treeline.

Photo: James Startt
Photo: James Startt

Colombian Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic), who was the top climber before the COVID-19 lockdown, finished in eighth place at 1:57 back.

Team [Arkéa-Samsic did it's best to keep Nairo Quintana in touch with the front of the race.
Team Arkéa-Samsic did its best to keep Nairo Quintana in touch with the front of the race. Photo: James Startt

Quintana suffered an injury in a collision with a truck while training in Colombia last month.

Vlasov launched his winning attack just inside of 5 kilometers from summit.
Vlasov launched his winning attack just inside of 5 kilometers from the summit. Photo: James Startt

Italian rider Fabio Aru (UAE-Emirates) was content with fifth on the day.

“Today was another step forward after my top-10 in Burgos last week. I felt better though because the body was more used to the race rhythm. Already on the first time up the climb, I could tell that I was feeling good and the last time up I emptied myself all the way to the line,” Aru said. “It was a very hard race with 4,000 meters of climbing but it was another good race in the legs as I keep building towards my objectives. Tomorrow I hope to continue that build-up at Tour de l’Ain.”

Vlasov plans the Il Lombardia as one of his next races.

2020 Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge Results
1. Alexandr Vlasov (Astana Pro Team), 4:56:39
2. Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), at 0:18
3. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), at 0:59
4. Pierre Latour (AG2R la Mondiale), at 1:29
5. Fabio Aru (UAE Team Emirates), at 1:38
6. Harold Tejada (Col) Astana Pro Team), at 1:43
7. Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), at 1:51
8. Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea-Samsic), at 01:57
9. Jesus Herrada (Cofidis), at 2:15
10. Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ), at 2:32