Owain Doull won from the breakaway on the fourth and final stage of the Tour de La Provence to take his first professional win in Europe, as well as Ineos’ first victory of 2020.
The Welshman held on as the pack came in quick behind, beating Israel Start-Up Nation’s Matthias Brändle in the sprint while Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s American youngster Ian Garrison and Romain Combaud (Nippo Delko One Provence) took the minor placings.
Nairo Quintana had sewn up the overall win with his spectacular efforts on Mont Ventoux the day before, coming in with the peloton six seconds down on the four, led home by Astana’s Alexey Lutsenko.
“It was a hard day and we worked together really well as a four. I was quite confident with the finish and I knew most of the guys, and I had good legs so I was quite happy to wait for the sprint,” Doull said after the finish.
“Around the 30km (to go) mark when we still had around four minutes I thought we had a chance. If we stayed together on the climb, I knew the run-in from last year was really fast. If we stayed as a group and rotated fast I knew we’d have a chance. With around 2-3km to go, I knew we’d stay away – then it starts to get a bit tactical and thinking about the sprint.”
With 1km to go the four-man breakaway still had a 10-second advantage, ensuring they would battle it out between themselves for the stage win.
Brändle opened up his sprint early with Doull getting on his wheel before edging around him to take the win. The 26-year-old is taking his debut victory on European roads in his stride, though, and sees it as a promising sign with the Classics season looming up ahead.
“This is my first professional win in Europe. I’ve won one race before in Australia. It’s nice to get the team’s first win of the year and it’s a good sign before the Classics,” said Doull.