Team NetApp optimistic about the Tour de l’Ain
After a short, race-free period for Team NetApp, the second half of the season begins this coming Tuesday with the Tour de l’Ain. The tour covers a total distance of 600 kilometers over five stages, and takes place in the French department of Ain, which borders Switzerland. The Grand Colombier mountain (1613 m), well known in the Tour de France, has been a fixed element of the race for thirteen years. However, this year it is being replaced by the mountain pass Col de la Lèbe (1204 m). Last year’s tour saw Leo Koenig ranked third in the general classification, while Jan Barta achieved second place in the individual time trial.
“We are going to the Tour de l’Ain with a team made for all stages. The first two stretches are quite flat and will suit our two sprinters, so we are hoping to achieve good results there. But we are also counting on the team time trial, which takes place in the first half of the second day. This year we have often proved that we are very well harmonized and that the team time trial training we undertook early on in the year has paid off.” Enrico Poitschke comments about the beginning of the French tour.
“The subsequent stages lead into Jura mountains. Even though the Col de la Lèbe isn’t really comparable to the Col Colombier, it is nevertheless a challenge. You would have to be a proven mountain rider to tackle it with no problems. However the 70-kilometer stretch after the climb will allow many riders to make up time. You can’t lose any time at that point if you want to have something to say in the general classification. The fourth stage is a classic mountain stage with two mountain classifications of the second category and one mountain finish of the first. The final stage is a real challenge. Five mountain classifications and a mountain arrival, the last meter of which is flat, await the riders. In this stage once again anything is possible,” concludes Poitschke.
The opening of the tour takes place in Montemerle-Sur-Statt. From there, the course continues over 147 kilometers of flat terrain to Trevoux. In Trevoux, the concluding lap of 13 kilometers is to be done twice: so a stage for the sprinters in the field.
Stage 1, August 7th
Montmerle-Sur-Saone – Trevoux (146,2 km)
Stage 2, August 8th
Lagnieu – Amberieu-en-Bugey (83 km)
TTT – Saint-Vulbas / Plaine de L’Ain (10,7 km)
Stage 3, August 9th
Belley – Montreal-la-Cluse (148,5 km)
Stage 4, August 10th
Nantua – Septmoncel (156,7 km)
Stage 5, August 11th
Saint-Claude – Lelex Monts-Jura (134,7 km)
Jan Barta, Daniel Schorn, Andre Schulze, Michael Schwarzmann, Markus Eichler, Matthias Brändle, Blaz Jarc