Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne – Three Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team riders finished in the peloton on a rainy opening stage of Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc Thursday.
Tao Geoghegan Hart (12th), Adrien Costa (14th) and Irish Under 23 national road champion Eddie Dunbar (19th) were among a group of 30 riders who finished 33 seconds after a three-man breakaway that escaped late in the 145-kilometer race from Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne to Cruseilles.
Alexis Guérin (GSC Blagnac Vélo Sport 31) took the win from Lennard Hofsteded (Rabobank Development Team) and Jhonnatan Narvaez Prado (Klein Constantia). The trio were part of the day's original breakaway of a dozen riders, but Guérin slipped that group in the final 35 km and was joined by the two others.
With no Axeon Hagens Berman rider in either escape, the team was forced to chase much of the second half of the race.
"It was a hard, long day with crummy weather," Axeon Hagens Berman General Manager Axel Merckx said. "We missed the break, so we had to do some work. At least we didn't completely lose the race. But we sacrificed three guys to try to save the race. Friday, will be another hard race. Hopefully, we will be able to manage the race better."
(File photo of Tao Geoghegan Hart by Joyce Jason Ghijs.)