Bauke Mollema bests Greg Van Avermaet on tough uphill finish on stage one of Tour du Var 2021

The Trek-Segafredo rider beat the Belgian by just one second

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Tour du Var kicked off with Bauke Mollema narrowly securing stage honours over Greg Van Avermaet.

Mollema (Trek-Segafredo) bested the Belgian on a tough uphill finish in the south of France, after 186.8km of racing.

The opening stage of the 2.1-ranked stage race (which wasn’t televised live) featured no flat terrain whatsoever, with the rolling terrain starting straight from kilometre zero.

After constant climbs and rises in the first 100km, the real climbing started with a 14-km second category, 3.9 per cent gradient climb - the Col de Gourdon.

That was quickly followed by a second ascent of the same climb, before taking on the same col for one final time finishing at the summit.

After the day’s breakaway was caught before the final ascent of the Gourdon, the stage came down to a 29-rider group which reached the finish ahead of the rest.

Mollema emerged as the best of the bunch, taking victory one second ahead of Ag2r-Citroën’s Van Avermaet, with Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ in third.

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.

Britain’s Tom Pidcock, making his debut for Ineos, finished in 86th place, five minutes down on the front group.

On his second place, Van Avermaert said: “I’m happy. It was a tough finish for climbers or punchers. It’s always better to win, but I’m happy with my second place.

“The legs are good and the team protected me well.”

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The three-stage race continues with a potential opportunity for the versatile sprinters on stage two.

Results

Tour de Var 2021 stage one, Biot to Gourdon (186.8km)

1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, in 4-50-20

2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Ag2r-Citroën, at 1 second

3. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

4. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation

5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo

6. Dorian Godon (Fra) Ag2r-Citroen

7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

8. Jesus Herrarda (Esp) Cofidis

9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

10. David Gaudi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, all at same time

General classification after stage one

1. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, in 4-50-20

2. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Ag2r-Citroën, at 1 second

3. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

4. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation

5. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo

6. Dorian Godon (Fra) Ag2r-Citroen

7. Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

8. Jesus Herrarda (Esp) Cofidis

9. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

10. David Gaudi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ, all at same time