Gavin Mannion is not one to rest on his laurels. The other day after claiming his first-ever European victory during stage 4 of the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc, Mannion repeated the feat in the race's final mountain time trial to Mont Revard.
Mannion dominated the 22 km stage and averaged over 24 kilometres per hour en route to his second consecutive stage win. He finished over one minute clear of yellow jersey Pierre Rolland (B&B Hotels - VItal Concept p'b KTM) and skyrocketed up the overall standings to finish fifth on GC.
"This stage was always the one I knew I could win but to go back to back after yesterday was really something special," said Mannion. "I knew I was on a good day from the first minutes of my warm-up. I had the confidence that if I stayed within my limits in the first half I'd be tough to beat."
Mont Blanc marked the team's return to competition after over five months at home. Much of the peloton prefers to have a few races under their belts before chasing victory but Mannion always shows up prepared.
"I'm really good at training," laughed Mannion. "That's probably my biggest strength as a rider. So when we had the long layoff from racing I looked at it as an opportunity to push my body more than I ever had without having to be rested for races all the time."
Team director Patrick McCarty was at the team's last race in March when they had to fly home early due to the pandemic. All of the time effort they had put in to be ready for the season was put on hold. The team's results in Mont Blanc this week helped reestablish the energy they had lost.
"This is a great way for us to restart our season," said McCarthy. "We're picking up right where we left off before the pandemic and I have high hopes for the rest of the year."
The next race on the calendar, Italy's Giro dell'Emilia, isn't until August 18 so the team has some time on their hands.
"We'll be stayin in the French Alps for the next few weeks," added McCarty. "It's a good location to enjoy some summer weather, altitude training, and to stay out of the busy cities."
Stage 5 Results
1. MANNION Gavin Rally Cycling 54:48
2. ROLLAND Pierre B&B Hotels - Vital Concep p/b KTM 1:03
3. GUERIN Alexis Team Vorarlberg Santic 1:32
4. CHAMPION Thomas Bourg-en-Bresse Ain Cyclisme 1:44
5. VAN GILS Maxim Lotto - Soudal U23 2:15
6. BONNAMOUR Franck Team Arkéa Samsic 2:18
7. BALFOUR Stuart Bourg-en-Brasse Ain Cyclisme 2:29
8. CEPEDA Jefferson Alexander Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 2:38
9. MORENO Adrià Velo Club Villefranche Beaujolais 2:47
10. BENNETT Stefan Team Pro Immo Nicolas Roux 3:01
Final GC Standings
1. ROLLAND Pierre B&B Hotels - Vital Concept p/b KTM 11:58:46
2. GUERIN Alexis Team Vorarlberg Santic 2:31
3. VAN GILS Maxim Lotto - Soudal U23 2:32
4. CHAMPION Thomas Bourg-en-Brasse Ain Cyclisme 4:28
5. MANNION Gavin Rally Cycling 4:29
6. MORENO Adria Velo Club Villegranche Beaujolais 4:30
7. BALFOUR Stuart Bourg-en-Brasse Ain Cyclisme 5:17
8. MONIQUET Sylvian Equipe continentale Groupama - FDJ 5:53
9. MUÑOZ Daniel Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec 6:06
10. CEPEDA Jefferson Alexander Androni Giocattoli - 6:51