Sport Director Gabriel Rasch is pleased with how Team INEOS have approached their return to racing at La Route d'Occitanie and believes the team are well-placed to win their first stage race of the season.

Following two flat stages to suit the sprinters, stage three will be a mountainous test featuring a trio of category one climbs, culminating in the summit finish atop Col de Beyrède which should prove decisive. 

All of the General Classification contenders are on the same time heading into Monday’s Pyrenean stage, with Egan Bernal currently 12th overall, and Rasch is confident the team can take the initiative and control the race.

He told “I think the first two days were mainly about staying safe and protecting our climbers and Egan, so all good so far. Tomorrow is a GC day, so for us it is a big day and we’re going to ride the race how we want.

“We’ll probably want to ride hard at some point, a hard race would suit us and here we have a team to do it, we can dictate the pace and make it ‘our race’.

“It is a long time since we last raced and now both the riders and the staff are getting back into the swing of things after two days racing and I think tomorrow will be a good test for us as a team to communicate, have a good plan and execute. 

Overall standings

1. Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels - Vital Concept p/b KTM) 8:57:07
2. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-McLaren) +2"
3. Elia Viviani (Cofidis) +10"
4. Lilian Calmejane (Team Total Direct Energie) +11"
5. Niccolo Bonifazio (Team Total Direct Energie) +12"
12. Egan Bernal (Team INEOS) +16"