AIX-EN-PROVENCE, France (VN) — Le Tour de la Provence finished up on Sunday in this famed city in southern France. And while this race is only in its fifth year, this year’s edition will go down as a memorable edition, because of Nairo Quintana, who dominated the race and showed that his new French team Arkéa Samsic has more muscle than many expected.

Clouds obscured the sunshine on stage 4. Photo: James Startt

Starting in Avignon, the site of the papacy during the Papal Schism, and finishing in Aix-en-Provence, made famous by Impressionist painters, the final day had all of the makings of a picture-perfect ride through French Provence. And in many ways it was, despite the fact that the legendary golden sun of this region was hidden by clouds.

The region outside Aix-en-Provence was made famous by France’s impressionist painters. Photo: James Startt

The weather of course had more affect on the spectators than it did on the riders, who cruised over the rolling course with consistently high speeds. But while the speeds shattered the chances of many sprinters, those remaining were upstaged by the day’s four-man breakaway, who managed to resist the final rush of the pack.

And of the group, it was British rider Owain Doull (Team Ineos), who outsprinted Mattias Brandle (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Ian Garrison (Deceuninck-Quick Step) for the stage win.

Arkea Samsic worked hard to protect Quintana. Photo: James Startt

Meanwhile, Quintana was happy to simply cruise along at the front, shepherded by his Arkea team. Quintana had virtually sealed overall victory the day before when he dominated the memorable stage up the legendary Mont Ventoux.

Owain Doull (Team Ineos) took the victory from the breakaway. Photo: James Startt

“It’s just great,” Quintana said of his first stage race victory since the 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico. “Victory is what we all want. We all did a lot of work and I hope this is just the first victory in what will be the start of a great era with Arkea-Samsic.”

Quintana sealed the overall, taking his first stage race win in nearly two years. Photo: James Startt

Quintana will race again next weekend in the Tour of the Haut Var before returning to Paris-Nice, the quintessential springtime stage race. And then of course, he will begin focusing on his season’s main objective, the Tour de France.

Le Tour de la Provence Stage 4 (Avignon – Aix-en-Provence)

  1. Owain Doull, Team Ineos, 4:07:32
  2. Matthias Brandle, Israel Start-Up Nation, at s.t.
  3. Ian Garrison, Deceuninck-Quick Step, at 0:02
  4. Romain Combaud, Niipo-Delko One Provence, at s.t.
  5. Alexey Lutsenko, Astana, at 0:06
  6. Damien Touze, Cofidis
  7. Pascal Eenkhoorn, Jumbo-Visma
  8. Magnus Cort, EF Pro Cycling
  9. Kasper Asgreen, Deceuninck-Quick Step
  10. Quinn Simmons, Trek-Segafredo, all at s.t.

Final General Classification

  1. Nairo Quintana, Arkéa Samsic, 15:31:50
  2. Aleksandr Vlasov, Astana, at 1:04
  3. Alexey Lutsenko, Astana, at 1:28
  4. Hugh Carthy, EF Pro Cycling, at 1:38
  5. Wilco Kelderman, Team Sunweb, at 2:16