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Pinot, Padun triumph at Tour of the Alps; Tonelli wins at Tour of Croatia: Daily News Digest
Ukrainian rider Mark Padun soled to victory on the final stage of the Tour of the Alps, while Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) raced in nine seconds down in sixth place, sealing overall victory. It was the first victory by Padun (Bahrain-Merida) as a pro, and came after he clipped away with four kilometres remaining.
“I had been thinking of that in the previous laps,” he said, speaking about the three laps of a tough finishing circuit which will feature in this year’s world championships in Innsbruck. “I realized there could be some space to go, and I’d rather try and miss than regret not going. It’s just my third race this year, and I am starting to understand what kind of rider I am: short stage races could be my thing.”
Nine riders went clear approximately 40 kilometres into the 164.2 kilometre race from Rattenberg to Innsbruck, establishing a 10 minute advantage. However the second ascent of the Olympia climb – the wall-like ascent that may determine this year’s world champion – spelt the end for the move. Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez sped clear on the descent and was joined by Pinot and Domenico Pozzovivo (Bahrain-Merida). Pozzovivo and Lopez had started the day second and third overall behind Pinot, and he wasn’t going to let them get far.
The trio remained out front until five kilometres to go, then Padun made his move soon afterwards. He reached the line five seconds ahead of George Bennett (Team LottoNL-Jumbo), while Pinot, Pozzovivo, Lopez and Chris Froome (Team Sky) all finished nine seconds back. Pinot duly beat Pozzovivo and Lopez overall by 15 seconds.
“When I managed to rejoin Lopez with Pozzovivo on the way down, I realized I had made it,” Pinot said. “The Tour of the Alps is one of the most beautiful and hardest races I have ever taken, and I’m delighted to have it in my palmares now.”