Miguel Ángel López has added his name to the list of winners on Mont Ventoux, as he won the 2021 one-day race on the iconic summit.
Movistar rider López launched his decisive attack 13km from the summit of the famous climb on the final of two ascents in the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, riding away from his rivals as his team-mate Enric Mas covered any attacks behind.
López never slowed on the way to the summit of the 21km mountain, finishing with more than two minutes over his nearest rival, Óscar Rodríguez (Astana-Premier Tech).
How it happened
The 2021 edition of the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge was raced over 154km, starting at Vaison-La-Romaine and finishing at the summit of the iconic mountain after two ascents.
But the race wasn’t just about Ventoux, as climbing started early in the stage with the Col de la Madeleine, followed by the Col de la Gabelle in the first 40km.
The peloton then had to tackle Rocher du Cyre before the first assault on Mont Ventoux, a 24.3km-long, five per cent average gradient mountain that is steeped in cycling history.
After cresting Ventoux for the first time, riders dropped back down to the valley floor, with another turn on the Madeleine, before climbing Ventoux once more from the steeper Bédoin side (21km at 8.7 per cent) to decide the winner.
With seven WorldTour teams racing this increasingly prestigious one-day race, there was some stiff competition to win the title, including the likes of Enric Mas, Miguel Ángel López (Movistar), and Gianluca Brambilla (Trek-Segafredo).
Early in the stage seven riders went clear of the peloton, including Magnus Cort from EF Education-Nippo, Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels p/b KTM), and Roger Adrià (Equipe Kern Pharma).
Behind, Movistar did much of the pace-setting as the leading group extended its advantage out to three minutes with 100km to race.
By the end of the first ascent of Ventoux, the break had broken down until only Pacher and Adria remained with a four minute advantage, but with Trek and EF helping with the pace in the bunch the gap was destined to fall.
As the riders dropped down to Bédoin the breakaway pair did lose more time and onto the foot of Ventoux for the final time the peloton were inside two minutes.
Pacher kicked on alone 17km from the summit of Ventoux, dropping Adria.
With Movistar, Ag2r Citroën and EF leading the bunch, the gap tumbled down to inside a minute with 13km to race, before Miguel Angel Lopez launched the first attack from the group of favourites just over 12km from the summit.
Lopez quickly bridged across to Pacher and went past the Frenchman, as a five-rider chasing group formed behind, including Ben O’Connor from AG2r, Julian Bernard from Trek-Segafredo and Lopez’s team-mate Mas, who sat on the wheel to cover attacks for the Colombian.
With 8km to the summit Lopez had a huge gap on the chasers with 1-26 to spare, as O’Connor launched a huge attack, but with Mas comfortably able to follow.
Lopez continued to ride clear of the chasers, extending his advantage out to two minutes with 2km to the line, as it looked like he would comfortably ride to the win.
Finally reaching the summit, Lopez crossed the line with 2-26 over the nearest chaser to take victory.
Behind, Rodriguez attacked Mas in the final 500 metres, managing to hold off the anchor and ride away to take second.
Mas rounded out the podium.
Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge 2021, Vaison-la-Romain to Mont Ventoux (153km)
1. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Movistar, in 4-30-04
2. Óscar Rodríguez (Esp) Astana-Premier Tech, at 2-26
3. Enric Mas (Esp) Movistar, at 2-33
4. Ben O'Connor (Aus) Ag2r-Citroën, at 3-30
5. Cristián Rodríguez (Esp) Total Direct Energie, at same time
6. Kenny Elissonde (Fra) Trek-Segafredo), at 4-02
7. Michel Ries (Lux) Trek-Segafredo, at 4-45
8. Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education-Nippo, at 5-41
9. Carlos Verona (Esp) Movistar, at 5-48
10. Geoffrey Bouchard (Fra) Ag2r-Citroën, at 6-10
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