Matthew Riccitello Dominates Mountain Time-Trial before Iseran Chaos | Tour de l’Avenir 2023 Stage 7a

Monte Lussari – Italy – cycling – Matthew Riccitello (USA – Israel – Premier Tech) pictured during Giro dÕItalia 2023 – 106th Edition – stage – 20 fromTarvisio to Monte Lussari ITT (18.6km) – 27/05/2023 – Photo: Roberto Bettini/SCA/Cor Vos © 2023

After finishing second on Col de la Loze, the American climber Matthew Riccitello performed impressively in the Tour de l’Avenir Stage 7a mountain time-trial, beating his opponents by at least 40 seconds and extending his lead in the GC.

The mountain time-trial went up the Karellis climb with regular gradients at 8.1%. The riders did it after a short but hard Col de la Loze stage yesterday. It was one of the rare days when there were two stages in a single day – following the mountain time-trial the riders did a 70 kilometre climbing stage.

Those who performed well on Col de la Loze were also the fastest up Karellis. The yellow jersey Matthew Riccitello, after losing to Isaac del Toro, beat everyone by a decent margin in the rainy time-trial, winning his first Tour de l’Avenir stage. The only American to win the race overall was Greg LeMond who dominated in the 1982 edition.

Matthew Riccitello in the rainy ITT

Davide Piganzoli and Isaac de Toro, who both finished in the top 3 on Loze lost 40 and 46 seconds, while everyone else lost at least a minute. The Norwegian Embret Svestad-Bårdseng made the biggest progress compared Col de la Loze and from those who finished Top 10 in the time-trial. Svestad-Bårdseng finished 15th on Loze and jumped to the sixth place on Karellis. The 20-year-old Norwegian is without a contract for the next season after his team Human Powered Health announced that they will likely fold as the new sponsor for 2024 has not been found.

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Riccitello pushed 6.31 ᵉW/Kg for 31:31 min, which is a good performance for a time-trial but not exceptional considering the riders perform completely fresh. Piganzoli, Del Toro, Pelizzari and Lecerf were the only other riders who produced 6.00 ᵉW/Kg or more in the rainy time-trial. All the riders who finished the ITT in the top 10 still are quite young and will be eligible to ride Tour de l’Avenir also next year as none of them are a fourth year U23 rider.

In the 2010 Tour de l'Avenir mountain time-trial Nairo Quintana did a similar performance. At that time the 20 year-old Colombian did 6.31 ᵉW/Kg for 32:30 min on Station de Risoul, beating everyone except Andrew Talansky by more than a minute. The Station de Risoul average altitude is 300 metres higher than Karellis but the Riccitello performance is not far from Quintana's.

Despite Riccitello's strong performance in the morning, he was unable to fend off numerous attacks from the impressive Del Toro and pair of Italians on the Col d'Iseran and its descent later in the afternoon. With the group of Italians and Del Toro distancing the small Riccitello with 60km of mostly downhill and shallow gradients remaining, Riccitello not only lost the GC lead but even his podium position, losing 2:52 on the final day.

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