Victory at Ventoux
Guerreiro and Chaves first and second
It was an emphatic one-two finish for Ruben Guerreiro and Esteban Chaves at the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge today.
Under clear blue skies, the pink jerseys of EF Education-EasyPost rode their team plan to perfection: control the peloton, keep the pace high, and climb until you reach the top.
"It is great to have such a win. I attacked after everyone did such great work. Everyone was a part of this victory. Esteban was just behind. It is special to have this victory. We needed it," said Guerreiro.
“It was really nice to see the guys having everything under control all day,” said sports director Ken Vanmarcke.
While it was Guerreiro and Chaves who would ultimately stand on the podium, Vanmarcke pointed out that their results were possible thanks to cohesion and strength within the team.
“When we started the last climb, the big one, we started to pick up the pace to make it harder on everyone. We preferred to have a fast, strong pace than to have people attacking because then you lose the control. The whole team was really, really strong today,” Vanmarcke said.
Guerreiro, fresh off of an impressive performance at the Dauphiné, knew he had the legs. Waiting patiently, he attacked once the steepest pitches of Ventoux kicked in.
“People tried to follow,” Vanmarcke said of Guerreiro’s explosive attack. “Obviously, that didn’t work out for them.”
"It is a big mountain, but the team worked a lot and believed in me,” Guerreiro said. “I am really glad to win on this climb. Now we are ready for what’s next. I hope to be in the Tour selection."
Just 48 hours after the pair finished the final stage of the Dauphiné in 4th and 5th place, their legs were primed to keep climbing. “They had really good legs," Vanmarcke said of Guerreiro and Chaves. "They had the Dauphiné and just one easy day of recovery yesterday and they were ready. That means their form is 100 percent.”
Somedays, this sport is not so complicated, Vanmarcke mused.
“If you have the best climbers, you want to do the climbs. And the best legs speak for themselves.”
Guerreiro viewed today’s win as a change of tides for the team.
“This spring we had bad luck, but we kept training and were persistent,” Guerreiro said. “I believed that I could win and the team always helped me. We were struggling a little bit with illness, but now it is fine. We are here and we can win."