Doull eyes Spring Classics after Provence victory
Owain Doull secured Team Ineos’ maiden win of 2020 in Aix-en-Provence after he and three other breakaway men held off a charging peloton in the final stage of the Tour de la Provence on Sunday
The victory installed Doull as one of the favourites for the forthcoming semi-Classics, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne.
Doull, who finished second in Kuurne last year, said: “I was super happy in the end. We all worked really well together and it was touch and go, but good to get the first one of the year.
“I knew the run in from last year and it was predominantly downhill and really fast, so I thought we had a good chance. Once we got into the last two kilometres, I started thinking more about the sprint and about being tactical.”
Acutely aware of the abilities of two of his fellow escapees, American rouleur Ian Garrison, and time triallist, Mattias Brändle, Doull waited for the right moment to make his move.
“I knew Brändle and I knew Garrison,” he said. “I sprint pretty well, so it was just about making sure I wasn’t too far back at the last corner and watching everybody else make their move.
" Now it’s the Classics, and I hope to build on what I did last year. "
"Then hopefully, Paris-Nice and the main Classics like E3, Flanders and Roubaix. I was good last year with second place in Kuurne, so I just want to keep learning and get results or to help the team get results.
Ineos sports director Brett Lancaster described Doull as “mainly a worker”, but added that he had been given a free role on the final stage of the Provençal race.
" Owain had a big month in Australia and has come back here and it’s paid off. That’s our first win and usually it gets the ball rolling again. It’s always good to get the first one under the belt."
Lancaster believes that Doull will now play a pivotal role in Ineos’ Classics campaign.
“Let’s see if we can have a good Classics campaign. We’ve been doing some different work this year around all that, with a different approach.
“We’ve got some motivated riders this year and we’ll attack it full-on. We don’t have a Classics team as such but we have a really good group this year so we’re optimistic and we want to take it by the horns.”
Ineos boast a formidable Classics team, with Doull joined by Gianni Moscon, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Dylan Van Baarle as the team’s main hopes for the period. The cobbled season begins with the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel Kuurne on February 28-March 1.