Stage 10 Craponne-sur-Arzon – Saint-Flour. Stage victory goes to Opryshko after a 68 kilometre breakaway. In the overall standing, Mollema adds his name to the Tour de l’Avenir record book while Cataldo claims the green and polka-dot jerseys.
Several attacks occur immediately after the official start but each the time the pack reacts. At kilometre 17, a group of six riders takes off and enjoys a 30” lead but they are eventually caught back by the pack at kilometre 25. At kilometre 30, Agnoli and Garcia manage to break free from the main field and rapidly increase the gap. At kilometre 35, Kushkin (RUS) takes off on a counter-attack without however managing to catch up with the front riders. He is caught back at kilometre 61 while Agnoli and Garcia enjoy a 3’ advantage. At the top of the Col de Lestival (km 63) Garcia makes it first ahead of Agnoli. The pack reaches the top, 2’55 later led by Kushkin, Cataldo, Rocha, Taborre, Mollema and Belka.
After the climb, Opryshko counter-attacks on his own. At the intermediate sprint at Pinols (km 69), won by Agnoli ahead of Garcia, Opryshko is only 1’35 adrift while the pack moves closer at 2’10. But while Opryshko insists and closes in on the leading men, the pack stops its effort and loses time. Opryshko catches up with the leading two at kilometre 80 while the pack has to deal with a 4’ time deficit. At the top of the Côte de Garabit (km 110,5), the three men confirm their lead. Garcia makes it first ahead of Opryshko and Agnoli. Behind, Sommerseth, Sortveit (NOR) and Leezer (NED) lead the main field, 3’55 adrift.
The pack then starts its chase under the influence of the Norwegian and Dutch teams. At the second intermediate sprint at Saint-Flour (km 120), Opryshko takes off beating his former companions Garcia and Agnoli by 10’’. At the same moment, the pack at a fairly fast pace moves closer at 2’30.
At the first passage on the finish line (km 122,5), Opryskho enjoys a 42’’ lead over Agnoli and Garcia while the pack led by Boom is at 2’20. Opryskho hangs on to his lead and the gap grows. At the second passage on the line (km 129), Opryskho leads the race, 1’25 ahead of Agnoli, 1’55 ahead of Garcia dropped behind during the climb and 2’20 on the pack. In the third climb, Garcia and Agnoli are caught back by the pack At the third passage (km 135), Opryshko keeps his 2’00 adantage over Cataldo, Mollema and Steensen in the front positions of the pack. In the penultimate lap, Aramendia (ESP) and Taborre (ITA) take off on a counter-attack, in vain. At the fourth passage on the line, Opryshko keeps a 1’30 gap over the pack led by Rocha , Herrada and Taborre. In the final lap, the race favourites move towards the front of the pack. But Opryshko resists. He wins at the top of the hill in Saint-Flour. Italian Cataldo beats Martin and Mollema in the pack sprint.
Mollema wins the 44th edition of the Tour de l’Avenir while Cataldo captures both the green and the polka-dot jerseys.
I attacked quite early because I knew I had nothing to lose since I was very far at the overall standing. What’s more, this kind of stage perfectly sticks to my climbing skills. I hope this victory will help me to enter the selection for the world championships in Stuttgart.