Karsten Kroon led the BMC Racing Team on Saturday’s opening stage of the Tour du Haut Var. The Dutchman finished 23rd in a wind-swept 108-mile (175 km) race from La Croix Valmer to Grimaud.
Kroon, Morabito With Leaders
Kroon and Steve Morabito were the only BMC Racing Team riders to finish in the leading groups that arrived at the finish within 30 seconds of stage winner Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale). A past yellow jersey-wearer at last year’s Tour de France, Nocentini takes a three-second lead over Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis, le credit en ligne) and Bert de Waele (Landbouwkrediet) into Sunday’s final stage. The Italian shook free of the peloton in the final 500 meters of the twisting, cobblestone climb into Grimaud. Kroon finished 13 seconds later while Morabito placed 74th, at 23 seconds.
Chasing The Break
The BMC Racing Team spent much of the first half of the stage chasing a group of 13 riders that slipped the stronghold of the pack less than half an hour into the race. “Jeff (Louder) and Florian (Stalder) and I went to the front with a couple other teams and started chasing,” Brent Bookwalter said. “Jeff and I continued chasing until about 100 kilometers into the race when we hit a 10 kilometer climb and (defending Tour du Haut Var champion) Thomas Voeckler attacked. From there, it was game on.”
Strategy For Sunday
Though the break never gained more than a 95-second advantage, the last of the escapees wasn’t overtaken by the peloton until the final 15 miles (25 km). From there, a number of riders gave it a go, but none was able to gain more than a few seconds before being reeled in. BMC Racing Team Assistant Director Sportif René Savary said the strategy for Sunday’s final stage will be to protect Kroon and Morabito’s overall positions. The 124-mile (200 km) race from Draguignan to Montauroux includes four categorized climbs and a 1.5-mile (3 km) uphill drag finish. “We will work hard to bring them to that final climb in the best possible position,” Savary said.