By Owen Morgan
Owain Doull says his first ever stage win in Europe bodes well for the upcoming classics season.
The Team Ineos rider produced a perfect ride on the final day of the Tour de La Provence on Sunday to take the win.
Doull placed himself in a four-man breakaway, which held on to a strong advantage near the end of Stage Four from Provence to Aix-en-Provence.
With the peloton unable to reel in the breakaway in the final stages, Doull took his chance to win the sprint for the line.
The Cardiff rider, an Olympic gold medallist on the track, said afterwards: “It was a hard day and we worked together really well as a four.
“I was quite confident with the finish and I knew most of the guys, and I had good legs so I was quite happy to wait for the sprint.
“Around the 30km (to go) mark when we still had around four minutes I thought we had a chance. If we stayed together on the climb, I knew the run-in from last year was really fast.
“If we stayed as a group and rotated fast I knew we’d have a chance. With around 2 or 3km to go I knew we’d stay away – then it starts to get a bit tactical and thinking about the sprint.
“This is my first professional win in Europe. I’ve won one race before in Australia. It’s nice to get the team’s first win of the year and it’s a good sign before the Classics.”
The win was Team Ineos’ reward for an attacking performance on the final day. Team-mates Ian Stannard, Gianni
Moscon and Pavel Sivakov had all tried to force their way into breakaway moves before Doull finally put himself in position to take the win.
The overall victory went to Colombia’s Nairo Quintana, riding for new French team Arkéa-Samsic.