In a resounding climax to the 21st edition of the Tour de l’Ardèche, Canadian cyclist Olivia Baril from UAE Team ADQ triumphed in the seventh and final stage of the race. The short stage stretched over a distance of 69.2 kilometres, extending from Beauchastel to Privas. Baril’s teammate, Erica Magnaldi, followed her closely, securing second place. Third was clinched by Marta Cavalli from FDJ-Suez, who also emerged as the overall winner of the tour, succeeding last year’s champion, German Antonia Niedermaier who didn’t race this year’s edition.
The initial strategy for UAE Team ADQ was not necessarily to clinch the stage win. The team’s objective was to overturn the general classification in favour of Magnaldi, who trailed Marta Cavalli by a mere 14 seconds. However, the FDJ team anticipated their moves and was quick to respond to UAE’s tactical attempts. Despite these setbacks, when victory in the general classification seemed unattainable, UAE Team ADQ pivoted their focus to securing the stage win. Baril’s final sprint was unmatched, leading her to victory.
For Baril, this victory isn’t just another win, but a testament to her capabilities and a confidence booster. Her first season with UAE Team ADQ has showcased consistent performances throughout, a commendable feat given the length and intensity of the racing calendar. Meanwhile, Marta Cavalli’s return to prominence after her big crash last year has been more than solid. The Italian cyclist demonstrated strong strategy throughout the Tour de l’Ardèche. Following her victory at the Tour des Pyrénées and impressive placements in other races, she will be confident and hopefully back to her full best in 2024.
The other notable performer, Anastasiya Kolesava, commented on the intensity of the final stage, which saw more than 1200m of altitude changes concentrated in the last two-thirds of the race. She expressed her gratitude towards her teammate Maaike Coljé, who played a pivotal role in the finale, enabling her to retain the third position against fierce competition.
2023 Tour de l’Ardeche Stage 7 result
Main photo credit: Sprint Cycling