Feeley & Teggart pass big test as AG2R flounder in France

Posted on: June 9th, 2019

Mark Downey with yellow jersey Julien Duval as his AG2R-La Mondiale team try to get him back on during stage 2 of Boucles de la Mayenne.

Riding against top pro teams, including WorldTour men, Matt Teggart and Daire Feeley were still standing in France yesterday when the bunch numbered less than 50 at the finish.

On a day when the yellow jersey got dropped as the speed was ramped up, both Irishmen rode for their EvoPro Racing team sprinter Wouter Wippert.

And while the Dutchman had to be content with sixth place on the day, though the team was chasing his ninth win of the season, the two Irish riders impressed.

Mark Downey and Aaron Kearney were less unfortunate in the same race; stage 2 of Boucles de la Mayenne (2.1).

Both got caught behind crashes and when gaps opened the breeze made it impossible to close them.

Downey hooked up with AG2R-La Mondiale riders trying to get race leader Julien Duval back on.

At one point the Irishman came to within a handful of seconds of what remained of the peloton before the gap went out again.

Feeley and Teggart were still standing as the peloton was continually whittled down
Aaron Kearney was unlucky in getting caught behind a crash

The racing took the field 179km from La Croixille to Lassay-les-Châteaux.

A seven-man breakaway spent much of the stage up the road, gaining three minutes at one point but ultimately being caught.

When the racing reached the final 20km it was French ProContinental team Vital Concept-B&B Hotels that really upped the pace, putting the race leader Duval out the back.

And when the field hit the Côte d’Herbaine with about 10km to go, the pace up it trimmed the peloton even further; though EvoPro Racing’s Feeley and Teggart held their places.

Their team mate Wippert had ridden a strong prologue on Thursday and moved up to 5th overall on Friday after claiming 3rd on the stage from the breakaway.

That meant EvoPro Racing put all its efforts into the Dutchman on yesterday’s stage.

And because Feeley, Teggart and Harry Sweeney survived in the peloton, Wippert did indeed have help in the final.

However, the slightly uphill sprint perhaps didn’t favour him as much as some of the other fast men in the front group.

The winning sprint was pretty impressive

Jon Aberasturi (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA) rocketed out of the main field to win the sprint by some distance; putting a second between himself and those who got closest to him.

Hugo Hofstetter (Cofidis) took 2nd place from Romain Cardis (Total Direct Energie).

In the end Teggart was 39th. Small gaps opened within the front group in the sprint meaning he was eight seconds down.

Feeley was 36 seconds back but only lost that time in the slight uphill finish after his work for Wippert was done.

Feeley placed 46th and effectively crossed the line second last man of the 47 riders who had lasted in the peloton; the gap after them some three minutes to the next group.

It was a strong ride by Feeley – in his first year at this level – and for Teggart, who is only back racing after months on the sidelines due to a back injury.

The day’s main breakaway led by king of the hills Fabien Schmidt of Delko Marseille Provence
Jon Aberasturi of Caja Rural-Seguros RGA takes his team’s second stage win in two days
Thibault Ferasse of Natura4Ever-Roubaix Lille Métropole has yellow going into the last stage after a great few days. He was 3rd in Thursday’s prologue and on Friday made the winning breakaway, placing 4th and moving up to 2nd overall. When yesterday’s race leader Duval was dropped, Ferasse finished in the reduced peloton and so took yellow

Kearney finished in 67th place in a group six minutes back while Downey was in 83rd in a group eight minutes down.

While Wippert was forced to settle for 6th on the stage, that result and the fact the race split so much saw him move up a couple of places to 3rd overall with just Sunday’s final stage remaining.

Thibault Ferasse (Roubaix Lille Métropole) took the yellow jersey from Duval.

He now leads by eight seconds from Friday’s stage 1 winner Mauricio Moreira (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA).

And then Wippert is in 3rd place, some 27 seconds down on the new race leader.

One minute covers the first 18 riders in the general standings, meaning the overall title is still up for grabs.

EvoPro Racing will look for a stage win on Sunday but even if Wippert were to finish in the top three overall it would be a great result.