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Mannion doubles up in France with TT victory

Rally Cycling strikes it big in European comeback with two stage wins and top-5 on GC.

Gavin Mannion (Rally Cycling) kept the winning groove going. A day after claiming his first European victory in stage 4 of the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc, Mannion doubled up Saturday by winning a mountain time trial to Mont Revard.

The victory was good for two in a row for the 28-year-old American, and slotted him into fifth overall in the French stage race in Rally Cycling‘s return to European racing.

“This stage was always the one I knew I could win but to go back to back after yesterday was really something special,” Mannion said. “I knew I was on a good day from the first minutes of my warm up. I had the confidence that if I stayed within my limits in the first half I’d be tough to beat.”

Mannion averaged more than 24kph in the 22km stage, and finished more than 1 minute faster than race leader Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM) and jumped from 12th to finish fifth on the final GC.

“I’m really good at training,” Mannion said after not racing in months. “That’s probably my biggest strength as a rider. So when we had the long layoff from racing I looked at it as an opportunity to push my body more than I ever had without having to be rested for races all the time.”

The back-to-back wins are a boost for Rally Cycling in their return to Europe following a long stop from racing since March. The team will race next at the Giro dell’Emilia on August 18, so riders and staff will stay in the French Alps to train at altitude.

“This is a great way for us to restart our season,” said sport director Patrick McCarty. “We’re picking up right where we left off before the pandemic, and I have high hopes for the rest of the year.”

After winning stage 3, Rolland finished second in Saturday’s final stage to secure the overall title, good for his first victories since 2017.