A New Star Is Born on Col de la Loze | Tour de l’Avenir 2023 Stage 6

Brugge – Belgium – wielrennen – cycling – cyclisme – radsport – Isaac del Toro Romero (MEX) pictured during World Championships Cycling – ITT -Time trial for men juniores between Knokke-Heist and Bruges (22.3KM) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/Cor Vos © 2021

The Mexican climber Isaac del Toro has performed consistently in the 2023 season, but today in the Tour de l’Avenir he won the first real mountain test against some of the best climbers of his age, even beating Israel Premier-tech’s Matthew Riccitello in the final few metres.

Tour de l’Avenir 2023 stage 6 profile

It was a fairly easy day for the riders before the mighty Col de la Loze, the same side used in the 2020 Tour when Miguel Angel Lopez destroyed Primož Roglič and Tadej Pogačar on steep ramps at high altitude. The Colombian climbers present this year, Pinzon and Pescador, had lost two minutes before the first real mountain stage because of the team time-trial where the team finished 26th out of 27 teams. Their team paced hard through Meribel, and their efforts paid off, when many riders, including the race leader from Denmark, Simon Dalby got dropped with 10 km to go.

Colombians setting a hard pace early on Col de la Loze

Col de la Loze is a hard climb with 23.3 km at a 7.3 % average gradient but the hardest and steepest ramps are in the second part of the climb. With 7 km to go after a few cursory attacks there were left only 8 riders in the leading group. Colombian Edgar Andres Pinzon whose teammates were now dropped after working hard on the climb, Italians Davide Pellizzari and Giulio Piganzoli, William Junior Lecerf, Frenchman Matthys Rondel, Matthew Riccitello (the only rider with a Grand Tour experience) and two Mexican talents Isaac del Toro and Jose Ramon Muñiz.

Leading group with 7 km to go

With 4 km to go Del Toro began to set his own pace and only the professionals Riccitello and Piganzoli could follow. In the end it was a tight battle between the American and the Mexican, with Del Toro winning on the top of the mighty Col de la Loze. Del Toro is only 19 years-old and a second year U23 rider. He was the youngest rider in the final eight group and still is without a contract for the next season but after this performance there will be many WorldTour teams interested in signing him. Del Toro already finished 10th in the Peace Race, 10th in Sibiu Tour and 3rd in Valle d’Aosta – Mont Blanc early this year.

Del Toro win the stage

Thanks to a good performance in the team time-trial by the US team Riccitello becomes the new leader of Tour de l’Avenir with Del Toro moving up to the third position, being 26 seconds behind the American. Tomorrow there will be two stages, a hard mountain time-trial in the morning up Les Karellis (11.1 km, 8.0%) and later in the day a 70 km mountain road stage.

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Despite it being one of the easiest mountain stages with less than 1,000 kilojoules spent before the climb, with 5 stages already in the legs this was no an easy day. Isaac del Toro climbed up Col de la Loze in 62:31 min pushing 5.65 ᵉW/Kg. Miguel Angel Lopez in the 2020 Tour did it in 60:45 min, with eight riders in 2020 climbing Loze faster than Del Toro and Riccitello. It is a high altitude climb and the performance is 5.97 ᵉW/Kg when normalised to sea level. Even if the stage before the climb was not hard it is still a very impressive performance for U23 riders, particularly the teenage Del Toro.

Riccitello already performed very well in the 2023 Giro Monte Lussari ITT (11th place overall and eighth on the climb) and in the 2023 Tour of the Alps San Valentino stage he finished eighth with 6.13 ᵉW/Kg for 41:03 min. Riccitello usually performs well on low kilojoule stages as he was 15th on Lo Port in Catalunya behind Sepp Kuss, 11th on Alto Colorado in the Vuelta a San Juan and 18th on Jebel Hafeet. He is a high class young climber and a good professional benchmark for other Tour de l'Avenir riders.

  1. Thanks Patrick ,,, we realy want a Mexican rider to perform at the european level (#fingercross). Since Alcalá (36 years ago), there has been a vacum in my contry for this sport and of course we are very happy today =D (he won the GC)

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