Tom Scully landed his first win of the 2017 season with a well taken sprint win out of a small group breakaway that managed to withstand the chasing peloton. In a nail biting finish Scully opened up his sprint just as the peloton were catching the tail end of the move. Afterwards he said that a stage win was always on the cards with freedom to infiltrate breakaways.
The final day of the Route du Sud was played out under excellent, but hot, conditions. It was partly this that encouraged Scully that he might be in with a shot of taking a stage. “I knew it would be hard for a team to chase in the heat, as it was really easy to go into the red in these conditions,” Scully said in a team statement.
Scully bided his time before racing across to join what would become the break of the day. After 15-20km the move went clear and a rise in the road sparked Scully into action. “I waited after it was really hard, then gave it a go on a slight drag up,” Scully said. “A few followed and we kept the gas on for a bit and eventually we had a group of seven away, working nice together. Shortly after two more joined.”
It looked, for all intents and purposes, that the break was functioning well together, right up until the entry to the race track; where the first attack from the move appeared to go clear. As Scully seems to indicate though, that might have had more to do with the group simply getting tired. “The group was working hard, but everyone was getting tired approaching the car racing track,” he said. “At three to go, the gap was down to 12 seconds.”
“I wasn’t particularly aiming for a stage win coming into this race, but it’s always on the cards when you can have the freedom to get in the breakaway, so you just have to be ready.”
Scully’s victory on the final day backed up the win for Pierre Rolland in the mountains the day before, and brings to an end a strong Route du Sud for the team. Tom is happy with where his form is after a ‘quiet’ period between race blocks. “I felt strong,” he said. “I’m happy with how the condition is after a big block of training following the Classics.”
“Today I had my chance on terrain that suited me to do the same [as Pierre had done in the mountains]. The feeling in the team at La Route du Sud was a good atmosphere.”
“Looking back on La Route du Sud overall, I loved it, even the big day yesterday over the Tourmalet,” Scully added. “For me, it was the first time racing in the big, big mountains, so it was pretty cool to do that.”