Bauke Mollema takes the opening stage of Tour des Alpes Maritimes

Bauke Mollema claimed the opening stage of the Tour des Alpes Maritimes after he distanced himself from Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R-Citroën) and Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) on the final climb.

With his galactic 7 line-up, Ineos took the charge in the hunt of the leading group, but at the moment of the truth the British team was nowhere. A group of 28 took the final climb, and it wasn’t until Mollema’s attack outside of 300m to go that any separation looked like it would stick.

“I knew I had to go early. I had the power, and I didn’t want to be boxed in and lose positions,” Mollema said. “The team did a great job keeping me in front and they did a great lead-out. I just went with 300-350 meters. It was a long sprint, but I made it, so super nice.”

The pre-race favourites remain in contention after the first stage, with Nairo Quintana (Arkéa-Samsic) finishing in the front group in 15th, while Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) finished 22nd.

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