Clohars-Carnoët, France - Zeke Mostov capitalized on an opportunity from a late-stage breakaway to earn a top 5 finish on stage 3 at Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste on Friday.
The 5th place finish is the first year Hagens Berman Axeon rider's best to date in the professional ranks. The work put in by his teammates and the weather conditions made it all the more memorable for the San Francisco, CA native.
“From the get-go, the stage had on and off rain with some crazy wind,” said Mostov. “Once the break got established, there was maybe about an hour where the pack was just riding together, but with about 110 km to go, it was just full stick, uncontrolled racing on winding French farm roads and crazy weather. No team had control at any one moment and there were constantly splits forming from wind and attacks, only to come back and reshuffle.”
With the bulk of the climbing and descending completed for the 181 km stage, it seemed as though the attacks might end and the peloton headed for another bunch sprint.
“We had me, Jonny, Rui, and Mikkel keeping the team represented in the chaos,” remarked Mostov. “I honestly was absolutely suffering all day. I think with about 40 km to go, there were two riders dangling off the front, and looking around I saw the exhaustion on everyone’s faces, and felt it in my legs. I lobbed something at the dangling riders, a few came with me, and the next thing I know we had a minute on the field!”
Unlike the previous two stages, Mostov’s five-rider break stayed away. Tony Hurel (Sojasun espoir-ACNC) captured the victory while Herman Dahl (Joker-Icopal) and Edoardo Affini (SEG Racing) came in 2nd and 3rd respectively.
“This is my biggest result so far as a professional,” said Mostov. “It burns a bit to be so close to the podium and not make it, but a big step in the right direction. Our guys up in the field did such a great job covering attacks all day in the chaotic racing. They made today’s result possible.”
Rui Oliveira and Mikkel Bjerg were the next Hagens Berman Axeon rider to cross the line, +1:00 behind Mostov’s group of breakaway riders.
With the break making their move stick, the general classification was shaken up. For his efforts, Mostov moved into 5th in the GC, +0:18 behind new race leader Dahl and only +0:07 behind Affini who sits in 3rd place. Mostov also moved into 3rd place in the youth classification.
Four stages remain at Le Tour de Bretagne Cycliste, which finishes on Tuesday, May 1.
(Header photo of Zeke Mostov by Davey Wilson.)