The Tour de la Mirabelle is a UCI 2.2 Europe Tour race held in the region of Lorraine in the north-east of France. It is named after the small, sweet, dark-yellow Mirabelle plums that are grown locally in abundance and are featured on the race’s King of the Mountains (KOM) jersey.
It has been a happy hunting ground for Tim Elverson’s teams who have competed here before.
In 2019 the then Canyon dhb Bloor Homes team had a splendid tour taking two stage wins by Dan Pearson & Alexander Richardson, the KOM jersey and 4th place on GC (General Classification).
In 2021, the Canyon dhb SunGod team won the 1st stage and overall Points jersey through Rory Townsend.
The 20th edition of the race took place between 26th – 29th May 2022 consisting of a short prologue and three stages totalling 500km across the plains surrounding La Mosselle river and into the picturesque dark-green forests of the Vosges mountain range.
1. Tour de la Mirabelle 2022 Stage Route
The six WiV SunGod riders selected were Jacob & Rob Scott who both competed in 2021, Matt Bostock who had won the final Tour Series race in Manchester just 2 days previously, Ben Perry, Matthew Teggart and Ollie Wood. Simon Holt was Directeur Sportif with Wilf the mechanic and Claire Buttivant & Philippe Nardella as soigneurs.
2. WiV SunGod team at the Tour de la Mirabelle
The competition included 5 National teams: France U23, Greece, Slovakia, Switzerland and Ukraine, 10 UCI Continental teams and 8 Belgian and French Elite teams.
Prologue: 2.6km Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy
The 2.6km drag-strip course with 2 U-turns was for road bikes only. Favourite was 4-times Individual Pursuit champion of France, Corentin Ermenault and he did not disappoint setting the fastest time of 3min 4 sec.
3. WiV SunGod at the team presentation prior to the Prologue
The WiV SunGod riders set a very impressive series of times with Rob Scott taking 2nd place less than a second down, Bostock following closely behind in 3rd, Wood 6th and Jacob Scott 7th, all within 3 seconds of Ermenault in a tightly packed leader-board. With no time bonuses being awarded over the following 3 stages, the prologue left the team in an excellent position in the GC (General Classification) standings.
4. Rob Scott wears the Points Jersey and Bostock the KOM Jersey following the prologue
Stage 1: 175km Pont-a-Mousson to Pagny-sur-Moselle
5. Stage 1 Profile
The 175km stage had 3 intermediate sprints and 3 categorised climbs which contributed to a total of 1741m climbing.
6. Stage 1 team presentation
After attempts by Rob Scott and Bostock to form early breakaways, it was eventually Perry who established a 3-man break along with Eddy Huitouze (France U23) and Briton Charlie Quarterman (Philippe Wagner Cycling) who cut free from the peloton in the search for sprint and KOM points.
Perry took the first KOM after 50km and was 3rd in the second intermediate sprint at the half-way mark where the gap to the peloton reached a maximum of just over three and a half minutes.
7. Ben Perry in the Stage 1 breakaway
Perry continued to ride strongly taking the second KOM as Quarterman dropped off the pace. Huitouze took the last intermediate sprint and Perry carried on solo to take the last KOM of the day and secure the KOM Jersey.
Perry was caught 10km from the finish which in the end was contested by over 100 riders in a frantic sprint. Teggart was WiV SunGod’s first finisher in 6th place with Bostock in 10th.
8. Ben Perry in the KOM Jersey on the Stage 1 podium
With no finish bonuses, Rob Scott and Bostock maintained their 2nd and 3rd places on GC just a second behind Ermenault.
Stage 2: 156km Breuches to Saint-Amarin
9. Stage 2 Profile
This was the ‘Queen Stage’ with two Category 1 and two Category 2 climbs totalling 2647m of ascending along the 156km route.
The WiV SunGod team started aggressively with Rob Scott, Bostock and Teggart all making it into the leading group of 13 riders. Teggart led over the first KOM at the 30km mark with Rob Scott just behind in 2nd.
10. R Scott and Teggart in the Vosges foothills
After 50km the 13-rider group including Rob Scott, Bostock and Teggart was still intact at the head of affairs with 1min 45sec gap over the peloton. The lead extended to close to 3 minutes on the long descent before the Category 1 KOM, the Col de Sapois which was a 6.2km climb at an average of 6%. Teggart was 2nd over the climb with Bostock 4th and Rob Scott 6th.
11. Teggart, R Scott and Bostock in the Stage 2 breakaway
The lead group had shrunk to 9 riders including the strong WiV SunGod trio with a lead of 1min 30sec as they tackled the biggest climb of the day, the 8km leg-sapping ascent of the Col de la Croix des Moinats at an average of 6.1% gradient. With the yellow jersey Ermenault at the back of the peloton, there would be a new GC leader at the end of the stage. However the breakaway was caught on this climb and the WiV SunGod riders’ chances of stage success had diminished significantly.
It was now Jacob Scott who became WiV SunGod’s lead rider on the road as he joined a new leading group of 8 riders. On the long descent of the final KOM, the Col de Bramont, there were frequent changes of leadership as the race approached the closing kilometres but no riders established a race winning gap. With just 3km to go the lead group had swelled to over 40 riders with Rob Scott and Bostock recharging their batteries before the final charge for the line.
12. Rob Scott and Matt Bostock take 1st and 2nd places on Stage 2
Amazingly after their breakaway exploits, Rob Scott and Bostock blasted through to 1st and 2nd places in the sprint moving Scott into the GC and Points lead with Bostock 2nd in each!
13. Simon Holt gets the lowdown after Stage 2
14. Rob Scott acknowledges the plaudits on the Stage 2 podium
Stage 3: 166km Baccarat to Damelevieres
15. Stage 3 Profile
After their exploits and resulting successes on the mountainous Stage 2, WiV SunGod had their work cut out to protect the GC leader’s yellow jersey held by Rob Scott and the Points leader’s green jersey also held by Scott but worn by Bostock on Stage 3. There were 14 other riders who were within 10 seconds of Rob Scott and 40 riders within 24 seconds so WiV SunGod had to keep the peloton under control on this final stage and neutralise any threatening moves. With no time bonuses along the way or at the finish, it was in WiV SunGod’s interests to try and engineer a bunch sprint where Rob Scott and Bostock would receive the same time as any winner of the stage. A busy day beckoned…
16. WiV SunGod at the team presentation before Stage 3
There were 4 categorised climbs on the 166km final stage totalling 1522m of ascending, but none of these were anywhere near as challenging as those experienced the previous day.
After 15km three riders formed a breakaway which included the Prologue victor Corentin Ermenault (AVC Aix-en-Provence), but all of these riders were over 12 minutes behind on GC, so were not really a threat to WiV SunGod’s interests. These 3 riders mopped up all the intermediate sprint and KOM points along the way.
There were attempts by riders in the peloton to break up the pattern of the race, particularly on the first ascent of the 1.6km long Cote de Vigneulles that was positioned 30km from the finish. However, the peloton came back together on the descent and eventually caught the breakaway just before the second ascent of the Cote de Vigneulles positioned 10km from the line.
The peloton exploded into 5 parts on this final climb but Rob Scott had positioned himself in the lead group. The biggest threat came in the last 5km when 3 New Zealanders made their move for stage and GC honours. First it was Logan Currie (Bolton Equities Black Spoke) who was in 4th place on GC just 6 seconds adrift of Scott, but Scott was swiftly onto his wheel nullifying the attack. Next it was Bolton Equities Black Spoke team-mate James Oram who made his move accompanied by Alastair Christie-Johnston (Team Bridgelane) at 7 and 8 seconds behind on GC who established a 50m lead going into the last couple of kilometres.
However in the frantic chase for honours a lead group of 44 riders came back together in the last kilometre with this time Bostock bursting through to take the Stage 3 victory and win the green Points jersey.
17. Matt Bostock wraps up Stage 3 and the Points Jersey
Rob Scott finished in 12th place securing the yellow jersey of the GC winner. A fabulous finish for WiV SunGod!
18. Rob Scott dons the GC leaders yellow jersey
These were breakthrough performances for both Rob Scott and Matt Bostock taking the first UCI wins of their careers.
Bostock has been a serial winner on the UK scene, particular in the shorter criterium races but despite a number of Top 10 performances in UCI races, this was the first time he had reached the top step of the podium.
Rob Scott has shown flashes of brilliance, not least his 4th place in the British Road Race Championships in 2018 when he was just 19-years old. More frequently he has featured in stage-long breakaways such as he did multiple times in the Tour of Slovenia in 2021, but this time he managed to take it to the line in style!
19. Rob Scott and Matt Bostock relax at the end of Stage 3
Credit should also go to the rest of the riders for their performances and efforts out on the road that helped keep the jerseys in the team’s hands and also to DS Simon Holt and the race support team. A ‘plum job’ all round!
Rob Scott quote from Instagram:
‘Great race with the @wiv_sungod boys winning 2 stages and placing 1st/2nd in the GC with @mattbostock97 Been waiting for this one to come.
Couldn’t have done it without the boys on today’s last stage. Big shoutout @jakerscott14 for pulling all day 🤫’
Matt Bostock quote from Instagram:
‘An amazing week here at the Tour de la Mirabelle, class to take first and second on GC with @__robwscott__ as well as 2 stage wins between us + the green jersey 🏆 Thanks to the entire team for all the hard work and support @wiv_sungod 💙 Wouldn’t be possible without the help of @rl360international Thank you again for the continued support 🙏’
Tim Elverson quote from Instagram:
‘Scenes, so bringing home a 1 2 in GC is a rare one so will take it while we can 🥳. Another stage win @mattbostock97 👐, giving us 4 uci wins this year, all from different @wiv_sungod squad members, another sprint Jersey win @mattbostock97, a GC @tourdelamirabelle for @__robwscott__ 👏 with @mattbostock97 rolling in 2nd, we keep making it happen.’
2: Hugh McManus
3, 6, 14, 16, 19: Herve Dancerelle, DirectVelo
7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 18: Alexis Dancerelle, DirectVelo
17: David Jaunet @clickadoc
Article: Paul and Marina Stedman