By Andrew Hood
John Devine followed in the footsteps of some of America’s best young talent following his overall victory at the four-day Ronde de l’Isard this weekend in France.
Devine, who is set to join the Discovery Channel team in July, won Friday’s 170km third stage to claim overall victory with a 49-second margin ahead of Belgian Francis De Greef.
Foul weather cancelled a morning sector of Saturday’s action, but Devine finished 13th in the 24km time trial to retain his lead. The former mountain biker finished sixth in Sunday’s finale, 14 seconds off the pace set by stage-winner Oscar Sanchez of Colombia, to become the second American in three years to win the French race.
Devine overall victory led a strong effort by the U.S. development team. Other U.S. development team performances included Tejay Van Garderen, seventh in the time trial and 29th overall. Chad Beyer finished 56th.
The 21-year-old Devine adds his name to some impressive company of other members of the U.S. development team to shine in the important espoirs stage race that has served as a springboard to the pro ranks.
Dave Zabriskie finished sixth in 2000 while Mike Creed claimed third in 2001-2002 with Saul Raisin finishing third in 2003 and second in 2004. Pat McCarty won the overall in 2005.
All four “graduated” from the development to turn pro and race in Europe, with Zabriskie currently racing in the Giro d’Italia with Team CSC. Creed and McCarty have signed with Slipstream/Chipotle while Raisin is on the comeback trail from a life-threatening crash last spring with Crédit Agricole.