Phil Bauhaus took the final stage of the Tour de la Provence in 2021 beating Davide Ballerini by about half a wheel in a crazy finale through the twisty streets of Salon-deProvence with Iván Sosa taking the overall win.
Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious) was indeed victorious on stage four, taking his first win since his overall victory and final day stage win at the Saudi Tour in 2020.
Sosa (Ineos Grenadiers) took overall victory ahead of Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) who managed to get a couple of bonus seconds that took him passed Sosa’s team mate, Egan Bernal, to take second overall.
The closing kilometres saw a mad dash to try and catch the breakaway of four riders, which was managed with 2km to go but some of the big name sprinters, such as Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), not able to contest the sprint.
It was Bauhaus who managed to come off the wheel of Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) to, in the end, quite comfortably take victory on the final day with Nacer Bouhanni (Arkéa-Samsic) taking third.
How it happened
The final stage of the Tour de la Provence started in the city of Avignon before winding over reasonably undulating terrain before flattening out over 163.2km and finishing in Salon-de-Province.
The break was made up of four riders with the gap getting out to just over four minutes. The break was made up of Tony Gallopin (Ag2r-Cotroën), Andreas Leknessund (Team DSM), Lluis Mas (Movistar) and Jérémy Leveau (Xelliss-Roubaix Lille Métropole).
Groupama-FDJ and Ineos Grenadiers were the two teams that controlled the pace in the peloton for most of the day until about 70km to go when Arkéa-Samsic came up and joined in the pacing.
The break did have a chance to draw level with the mountains jersey leader, Filippo Conca (Lotto-Soudal), but they didn’t manage to get to his 15 points and the Italian first-year-pro took the jersey with Leknessund missing out by one point.
As the race went over the final climb of the race with 35km to go, the gap to the breakaway was at 1-28 and closing as the peloton were getting ready for a mass bunch sprint.
Mas used the end of the descent of the final climb to kick on solo with 24km to go as the gap to the chasers quickly making it up to 13 seconds to his chasers in the break.
With 14km to go Mas still had 1-14, so the peloton saw Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s Rémi Cavagna join the front of the peloton to bring the gap down.
The break came back together again with 10km to go, thanks to Norwegian time trial champion, Leknessund, dragging the chasers back up to the Spanish rider, but the peloton were at 40 seconds and closing fast.
The peloton finally caught the breakaway with 2km to go with UAE Team Emirates and Deceuninck – Quick-Step leading the peloton into the finish as they came into the twisty roads of the finishing town.
The corners meant that Démare just could not find a way through the group and the French champion was not able to take part in the bunch sprint.
Meanwhile, at the front of the peloton, the sprinters were swarming around the Deceuninck – Quick-Step train that was being done by Alaphilippe and Zdeněk Štybar with the Czech rider leading until about 150 metres to go.
Ballerini kicked first but it was the big German sprinter, Bauhaus, who managed to fly by everyone and take his first win since 2020, Bouhanni came in third behind Ballerini but did protest at the Italian’s movement on the bike.
Sosa took the overall title ahead of Alaphilippe and Bernal in fine style by 18 seconds over the world champion thanks to his stage three win up to Chalet Reynard on Mont Ventoux.
Tour de la Provence stage four, Avignon to Salon-de-Province (163.2km)
1. Phil Bauhaus (GER) Bahrain Victorious, in 3-47-01
2. Davide Ballerini (ITA) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
3. Nacer Bouhanni (FRA) Arkéa-Samsic
4. Matteo Moschetti (ITA) Trek-Segafredo
5. John Degenkolb (GER) Lotto-Soudal
6. Bryan Coquard (FRA) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
7. Matt Walls (GBR) Bora-Hansgrohe
8. Niccolò Bonifazio (ITA) Total Direct Energie
9. Eduard-Michael Grosu (ROM) Team Delko
10. Alexander Kristoff (NOR) UAE Team Emirates, all at same time.
General Classification after stage four
1. Iván Sosa (COL) Ineos Grenadiers, in 17-21-00
2. Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) Deceuninck – Quick-Step, at 18 seconds
3. Egan Bernal (COL) Ineos Grenadiers, at 19s
4. Wout Poels (NED) Bahrain Victorious, at 39s
5. Patrick Konrad (AUT) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 57s
6. Bauke Mollema (NED) Trek-Segafredo, at same time
7. Jack Haig (AUS) Bahrain Victorious, at 58s
8. Mauri Vansevenant (BEL) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
9. Jesus Herrada (ESP) Cofidis
10. Aleksandr Vlasov (RUS) Astana-Premier Tech, all at same time.