Gavin Mannion wins Tour of Savoie Mont Blanc stage 4

American Gavin Mannion of Rally Cycling took his first pro victory in Europe during stage 4 of the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc.

American Gavin Mannion of the Rally Cycling Team climbed to victory during Friday’s fourth stage of the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc in France.

Mannion, 28, accelerated away from a group of top climbers including race leader Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM). The result marks Mannion’s first pro victory in Europe.

“It felt amazing,” Mannion said. “It’s never easy to win a bike race, especially one in Europe. I’m happy to finally do it.”

Mannion finished eight seconds ahead of Jefferson Cepeda of Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, with Rolland crossing in third, 12 seconds down. The 144km stage from Aix-les-Bains to Notre-Dame-du-Pré included four categorized climbs including the Cat 1 summit.

Mannion slotted into 12th place overall, 5:32 down on Rolland.

The victory comes a day after Mannion dropped out of contention for the overall on Thursday’s mountainous stage 3, which included the Col de Beauplan and the ascent to Valmeinier. The afternoon stage came after the peloton tackled a mountainous route earlier Thursday morning.

Mannion finished second place on the morning stage and then was dropped that afternoon, losing five minutes to his rivals.

“It was a really tough stage,” Mannion said. “I felt great and then I just totally bonked. I was seeing stars out there and just trying to turn the pedals over. That ruined my GC chances but I stayed positive and wanted to come back and win today’s stage.”

Mannion is leading the Rally squad comprised of Nathan Brown, Nickolas Zukowsky, and French riders Maël Guégan and Jason Tesson. The team was unable to get all of its North American riders to the race due to travel restrictions, and thus hired on Tesson and Guégan as trainees from the French Sojasun Espoir team.

The race concludes Saturday with a mountainous 22.4km individual time trial from Aix-les-Bains to La Revard.