Ballerini pips Demare to claim the opening stage in Provence

Davide Ballerini took the first stage of the Tour de la Provence 2021 after overtaking Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), who started the sprint too early in sight of the finish line.

The opening stage’s highlight was the attack of Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) and Gianni Moscon (Ineos Grenadiers), who started with 70km to go and was neutralised in the last two kilometers.

Several teams tried to put their sprint trains on the rails, but there was no real organized lead-out. The sprint was eventually started by Démare and the French champion seemed on his way to victory with a few powerful pedal strokes. However, the Groupama-FDJ rider took the lead too early and was overtaken by Ballerini.

The Italian managed to give his Deceuninck-Quick-Step team the first victory of 2021 and will start tomorrow as leader on the second stage to Manosque.

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