Mauri Vansevenant takes second on the queen stage of the Tour of Slovakia.
Victorious on the first two days of the Tour of Slovakia, Ethan Vernon conceded the first place in the general classification, but the yellow jersey remained in the team, passing onto the shoulders of Josef Cerny at the end of the race’s toughest day, comprising six classified climbs and an uphill finish on the cobbles in the old town of Banska Stiavnica.
It was a bittersweet day for Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, as Mauri Vansevenant – one of the main animators of the stage – came close to what would have been his first victory of the season on the 1.7km ascent where the race concluded after some exciting all-out action in the last 40 kilometers. The Belgian rode a great race, while his teammates Cerny and James Knox worked hard for him in the final hour, and made the selection when the other squads put down the hammer on the penultimate climb, a move which left only 10-15 riders in the front.
Not even the cobblestones on the last hill could slow him down, but despite a fantastic effort, Mauri came runner-up, behind Archie Ryan (Jumbo-Visma). The result helped him make an impressive jump in the overall standings, where he sits in fourth place, a single second from the podium and a further five behind Josef, the seventh different rider of the team to wear yellow at the last five editions.
“I’m disappointed, because the win was possible today. I felt good and was there when the attacks came, thinning out the group. At the start of the last hill, I was lucky that Josef came back, as he worked hard for me, which I am grateful for. At the same time, I am satisfied with my form, because I just returned from Canada, and this motivates me to try again”, said Mauri after his result on stage 2.
“We wanted to keep the leader’s jersey today, and maybe also go for the stage win with Mauri. I took yellow, but the gaps are small, so we’ll need to remain attentive and see how the next stages go. But for now, I will enjoy my day as leader of the Tour of Slovakia”, added Cerny.
Photo credit: ©Jan Melicher