As usual, Tirreno-Adriatico ended with a 10 km time trial in the streets of San Benedetto del Tronto on Monday. While Simon Yates managed to keep the first place overall, Filippo Ganna stormed the TT, in which the Groupama-FDJ’s rider did a great impression. Tobias Ludvigsson (5th), Benjamin Thomas (6th) and Bruno Armirail (11th) all finished in the very first positions, and the latter could also secure his top 20 overall, which is a first for him at this level.
“Having 3 riders in the top 11 shows they’re in a very good form”, Sébastien Joly
The Groupama-FDJ team opened Tirreno-Adriatico 2020 with a top 10, thanks to Romain Seigle. They concluded the race with another two – and almost three -, in the final time trial on Monday. In the streets of San Benedetto del Tronto, only Team Ineos succeeded to put out a better team performance than Sébastien Joly and Jussi Veikkanen’s men. Tobias Ludvigsson was fifth, Benjamin Thomas sixth and Bruno Armirail eleventh, within the second as Michael Matthews (10th). “Since the start of the race, we knew that the guys were really motivated for the time trial”, said Sébastien Joly. “However, we did not focus only on that. We did an aggressive race, again yesterday with Benjamin. We preferred to give our best every day, not to preserve ourselves too much and we knew that today could be a good day. It was indeed, and we congratulated the riders for their commitment and their great involvement. Having three riders in the top 11 shows they’re in a very good form. Tobias was really happy with his time. He was riding his new Aerostom for the first time and he was really amazed. When he got to the finish, he was excited like a child. Benjamin was faster in the intermediate points but struggled a bit at the end. Bruno too, but overall they can’t really have regrets. They did a very good job”.
“I learned a lot during this week”, Bruno Armirail
“The time trial went well, but the top 10 would have been better,” Bruno Armirail said. “It is how it is, I gave it my all and it’s not too bad to be eleventh on this stage after having fought all week”. With the exception of the three massive sprints, the 26-year-old Frenchman was indeed constantly present in the Italian race, and his consistency, including in the mountains, enabled him to secure a solid 18th place overall. “At first, it was not intended that I play the general”, he explained. “It just came naturally when I followed the best in stage 3, and then we slowly started to make it a goal. I had never experienced it before; it was really new to me. I liked it and I learned a lot during this week, especially in terms of positioning. I had a very good team around me, which placed me well. It was really weird to switch roles and be in the leadership position. Usually, I do this work.”
Rather classified as a time trialist, Bruno Armirail pushed hard in punchy stages but also got a decent 22nd place in the only summit finish of the race by pacing himself really well. “Finishing this week, I don’t really have any regrets, except for the fourth stage where I attacked at the bottom of the last climb”, he conceded. “Maybe I should have stayed in the wheel but it’s easy to analyse afterwards… Yesterday I did not have my best day but I did all I could. In the end, this top 20 overall in a WorldTour event is a first for me, so it’s not too bad. Especially since I had a break after the French championships and was not feeling great the week before Tirreno”. Will this experience be repeated? “We’ll see with the team,” Bruno answered. “Here, there was not Arnaud, Thibaut or David. It was actually more open for us, but why not try the GC again in another race if our big leaders are not there”. Sports director Sébastien Joly said the final word: “This week not only gave Bruno a chance to learn new things, but it also gave the whole team a boost. It was a good thing from that point of view as well, we had a good week, and I want to underline it. They all now need to recover well in anticipation of the next appointments”.