Alberto Bettiol wins stage two of the Boucles de la Mayenne and claims the yellow jersey

Italian attacks on the final climb and solos into the general classification lead

May 25, 2024

The finish-line photo shows Alberto Bettiol alone, punching the air in celebration.

After launching on the final climb and soloing to victory and the overall race lead, Alberto dedicated his win and the yellow jersey he was rewarded to his EF Education-EasyPost teammates.

Marijn van den Berg, Jonas Rutsch, Stefan Bissegger, Owain Doull, and Jack Rootkin-Gray did a tremendous job to control attacks and keep Alberto out of the wind during a brutal day of racing through the grassy fields and woods of western France.

“I'm really proud of my teammates,” Alberto said after celebrating with them. “We believed since this morning that today could be our stage. My teammates were really, really amazing. We stayed calm. Today was a really difficult stage, really hard and difficult to control. But, we played it smart and waited till the last climb to attack.”

The second-category Côte des Égoutelles lay on the final circuit around the town of Villaines-la-Juhel, which the peloton hit mid-way through the 208.8-km stage, which totalled close to 3500 meters of climbing. With a five-man break up the road going into the early circuits, EF Education-EasyPost jerseys massed at the front, accelerating through the first four of five laps to wear down their rivals. On the approach to the fifth and final climb, they’d caught the break and had what was left of the peloton strung out in a long line behind them. On the first ramp, they upped the pace. A few riders did try, but attacks were impossible until Alberto went. The Italian smashed the pedals for a few revolutions and was gone. He ducked his head, tucked in his elbows, and time-trialed the eight kilometers left to the finish alone. Alberto was determined to reward his teammates with a win for the work that they had done for him.

“We took the responsibility,” he said, before pulling on the yellow jersey. “We showed the other teams that we had the attitude to control the race. I’m proud to pay all their job back with this victory.”

At the finish line, Alberto was 17 seconds ahead of his closest chaser. He now holds the overall lead by 23 seconds with one stage to go in the Boucles de la Mayenne. Alberto will give his all to wear the yellow on the final podium tomorrow in Laval.

“I'm here. I will try to defend it,” he said. “Our goal was to win a stage here, because we have a really strong team and today we did. Now, we are here. We have the jersey. I say we have, because I would not be here without my teammates and sports directors and all the staff working behind me. We're building up to the Tour de France and the Grand Départ in Florence. That is my focus. Now I'm just very happy. I hope to pay all these guys back.”

Tomorrow, Jack, Owain, Stefan, Jonas, and Marijn will be just as committed. Expect to see them on the front tomorrow during the final 169.2-km stage from Quelaines-Saint-Gault to Laval.

Good luck, team!

Share this story

Related Stories