With Giacomo Nizzolo recovering from injury, Frame makes good on his opportunity in the bunch finish in France
Alex Frame is usually the one working the lead-out for the team’s sprinters, but with Giacomo Nizzolo using the four-day Circuit Cycliste Sarthe-Pays de la Loire to find back his race form after injury, the Kiwi cyclist has been handed his second straight opportunity in the bunch sprint finishes.
Stage one was a crash-marred finale that had Frame grabbing a fistful of brakes instead of powering to the line, and he still managed a top ten result with a ninth-place finish.
Gnarly little finish in the rain with two tight corners in the last 400 meters. Avoided the crashes but got out dive-bombed by some guys with big hearts. Enjoyed mixing it up and feel pretty good to be fair. Should be a mint week with the boys.
And Wednesday, Frame – in his first professional season – made good on his rare chances in another squirrely finish to stage two, sprinting to a fantastic second place behind Marc Sarreau (Groupama-FDJ).
Director Alain Gallopin explained: “At one point during the race, we had a long section of crosswinds where the peloton split into pieces. Unfortunately, we had quite a few guys in the second part of the bunch, but luckily they made it back in time for the local circuit at the finish. That circuit was quite tough, in the last lap we only had Julien (Bernard) and Alex left in the 1st group.
“I am very happy to see Alex finish 2nd in this race. Sarreau has been winning races since the beginning of the year and is a strong guy, and to finish second to him is not a shame at all, on the contrary. Alex came here in a good shape and with high motivation and it’s nice to see him perform so well. Yesterday, there were quite a few crashes in the last kilometer and Alex had to brake but still sprinted to the 9th place. Today everything went better; I am really happy for him, he did a great job.”
While most of the attention was on the bigger races in Belgium and Spain Wednesday, the six riders in France quietly rallied under the radar to bring home a podium finish for Alex Frame, 24, who is quickly gaining experience and making an impression.
“The race was grippy on the finishing lap,” Frame explained. “Giacomo and I were working really well together staying at the front and speaking the whole time. He is here to get some good Ks in the legs and said if I’m ok I can have a go for the sprint.
“I think in the future we could work really well in sprints together. I was happy just to show the team I can get in the mix. Being new to the team, it’s nice to chip away at some results when I have the chance to earn some respect from the boys.”