Another one for Noah Hobbs! Two days after his first victory in the U23 ranks, the young Briton did it again on Friday on stage 3 of the Alpes Isère Tour. After his fellow countryman Joshua Golliker took part in the day’s breakaway, Noah Hobbs once again dominated the bunch sprint. He therefore consolidated the points classification jersey. 

After his first ever win with “La Conti” on Wednesday, Noah Hobbs took the start of the second stage of the Alpes Isère Tour with the yellow jersey on Thursday. In a very eventful day, where attackers got the better of the peloton, he was however unable to keep the overall lead. On Friday, he was therefore in green when he got to the start in Saint-Exupéry Airport for stage 3. Despite almost 2000 metres of elevation on the menu, over 154 kilometers, a bunch sprint was possible. “We wanted to ride for Noah,” explained Jérôme, “but we thought that it could also be an advantage to have someone in the breakaway if it was a big enough group”. Although the break was ultimately only made up of four men, it was formed after a long hour of fighting. Joshua Golliker took the lead with Michiel Van Vliet, Artem Shmidt and Ibon Ruiz Sedano. On challenging terrain, the Briton and his companions obtained up to a five-minute lead, then the peloton really started to push on entering the last hour of racing, while the riders had to overcome a series of climbs. “It was a tough day,” said Noah. “The hills were not steep but a little longer than the previous days. Having Joshua in the breakaway was perfect because we didn’t have to control the whole day. And then we didn’t mind if it went to a breakaway or a sprint.”

“I don’t think he’s going to stop”, Jérôme Gannat

With ten kilometres to go, the four men still had a thirty-second lead, but with quite a straightforward last part of the stage, the peloton managed to come back with three kilometres to go. The sprint was already setting up. “As we didn’t have to control or chase, the whole team was fresh for the final,” added Noah. “The finish was different from the first day, slightly uphill and with a headwind. We still managed to make sure I was well positioned in the end and the whole team was perfect again.” “We wanted to keep Maxime Decomble for the last kilometre then Lewis Bower for the last corner, at 600 metres,” explained Jérôme. “He was supposed to launch Noah 250 metres from the finish and that’s pretty much what happened.” Perfectly led-out by his New Zealand teammate, Noah Hobbs took the lead straight away and kept his rivals at bay, like two days before. With two victories in three stages, the English is definitely on the roll. “We made the right choice by taking him to this race, because we also had a request from the Great Britain team for the Nations Cup,” explained Jérôme. “We knew these finishes could suit him well and that there were four potential sprints. Even if his sprint may seem a little less dominant than on day 1, he still won with a half-bike length. It gives him confidence and we know how important confidence is for sprinters. He’s still going strong, and I don’t think he’s going to stop.”

The Briton has therefore taken sole lead of the points classification, which he will try to keep until Sunday evening. “There is high confidence within the team before the last two stages,” he concluded. “We will continue to work together and hopefully we can bring home another stage victory with the team”. “On Saturday, it will be hilly and we’ll have a climb of one kilometre at 10% ten kilometres from the finish, which is actually called the Carrefour de l’Arbre hill,” smiled Jérôme. “We will have to get over this climb to hope for a sprint finish. Sunday, it will be totally different with almost 4,500 meters of elevation over 170 kilometres. It will be a good test day for our climbers, namely Colin, Max, Maxime and Joshua.”

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