It was difficult, the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc (UCI 2.2), which ran through France from June 21 to 24. Five Pro Continental teams were at the start of the race with a total of almost 13,000 vertical meters to overcome. A challenge and an incentive at the same time. And a task that the team riders were absolutely up to.
Already on the first stage over 150 kilometers in the Mont Blanc massif with an impressive 3,700 meters of difference in altitude, Davide Orrico launched an attack and after a long solo run secured the mountain classification on the Col de la Croix de Fer, which is almost 2,000 meters high. His team mate Roland Thalmann earned the fair play prize of the day, and Matteo Badilatti finished the first stage in second place overall as the icing on the cake.
Things continued just as smoothly the next day. The second stage was not a regular one: It was divided into a climbing tour of 92 kilometers and 2,500 vertical meters in the morning and a 7.5-kilometer long time trial in the evening. Neither was a problem for Vorarlberg Santic. Though Matteo Badilatti lost a few seconds on the extremely fast descent of the first half stage and ended up in 16th place that day, he positioned himself promisingly and with the prospect of advancing in the following days with a third place in the overall standings. Evening highlight: Patrick Schelling won the time trial!
But apparently the climbing against the clock hadn't made him tired. After his victory the evening before, Schelling attacked on the third stage, the king stage over 189 kilometers and 4,388 meters in altitude, together with three other riders, but then gradually left them behind and spurted to a solo victory. His team mate Roland Thalmann, who had already broken away in the difficult final climb and cycled alone towards the finish line for a while, had to let some riders pass, but finished this stage on third place. Matteo Badilatti fulfilled the hopes for an improvement in the overall standings and moved up to second place overall thanks to a sixth place on this stage. Further harvest of the day: Orrico leads in the mountain classification, Schelling in the points classification and Thalmann in the combined classification.
Despite the already impressive number of kilometers and meters in altitude, the organizers of the tour showed no mercy on the last section: 138 kilometers and a good 3,000 meters of difference in altitude had to be mastered again. The riders of the Vorarlberg Santic team on STEVENS Comet remained unimpressed: ranks eleven and 13 for Patrick Schelling and Matteo Badilatti, which meant silver for the latter in the overall standings. In addition, Roland Thalmann secured the lead jersey in the combined classification of mountain and sprint, Davide Orrico won the mountain classification and thanks to outstanding performances, both Patrick Schelling in the points classification and the entire Vorarlberg Santic team (in the team classification ) took second place.
"A good reference in such a difficult tour", sums up the team management - and a declaration of war for the other teams that will be at the starting line with the Vorarlberger riders on July 7 at their home race: the Tour of Austria with 1,172.2 kilometers and 23,141 meters of difference in altitude, spread over eight stages.