Ashlin Barry earns first UCI stage race win at Tour du Bocage for Team USA

Ashlin Barry accepts the GC trophy for winning 2024 Tour du Bocage et de l'Emée
Ashlin Barry accepts the GC trophy for winning 2024 Tour du Bocage et de l'Emée (Image credit: EF Education-ONTO)

Young US rider Ashlin Barry stole the show in France this weekend at Tour du Bocage et de l’Ernée, winning the opening stage of the junior race and also holding firm to claim the GC title across the three stages. It was the first UCI stage race in Europe for Barry, part of the five-rider squad for Team USA Juniors. 

After taking the GC lead in a sprint against a breakaway companion on Saturday's stage 1, Barry scored top 10s in a doubleheader on Sunday – an individual time trial and stage 3 road race – to secure the overall victory.

Barry, a 16-year-old who rides for the EF Education-ONTO development team, suffered crashes on both the road races. On Sunday final stage, he needed a bike change and help across 45 minutes from teammate Noah Streif to rejoin the lead group and hold his overall lead with a fourth-place finish. Streif was the next highest-placed US rider, finishing 27th overall. 

The duo were part of the Team USA National squad, one of 14 international teams in the race alongside 21 French teams in the 174 rider strong field. Also racing for Team USA were Enzo Edmonds, Benjamin Juracich and Otis Engle.

Barry won the 120.3km opening stage of Tour du Bocage et de l’Ernée on Saturday, a rain-soaked affair that team director Rusty Miller called “a gutsy ride” for his first stage win. 

Stage 1 began with a large circuit from St Ellier du Maine and then a final circuit of 8.18km completed three times for the finish in Pontmain. The team worked to chase down a solo breakaway, Senna Remijn (ACROG Tormans), who was caught with 49km to go. 

“I tried to stay pretty calm. [The race was] definitely sketchy. A lot of the roads were really twisty and it was pouring rain the whole time and windy. But as the group got smaller and the race went on, it felt a bit safer. I did crash early on, so it was definitely sketchy,” Barry said with a broad smile afterwards.

Over the next 20km more riders tried to fly solo, including Axel Bouquet (Lepelley Electricite U19) who began losing his 15-second advantage nearing the final finishing lap.

With 10km to go, Barry made inroads on Bouquet and the two began the final circuit together. After the final corner with 500 metres to go, Barry launched his sprint and won the uphill sprint easily in front of his breakaway companion. His teammate Streif finished 12th.

“I felt really good today. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to win it ‘til the end, really. I was just trying to be patient in the race and go at the right time. Yeah, it worked out really well, I’m happy,” he told race organisers at the finish while clad in his Team USA kit.

The second day of racing brought sunny skies for a morning time trial and afternoon stage race to decide the general classification. 

Stage 2 was a rolling individual time trial from Chailland covering 13.8km and accentuated by an 18% climb of the Chailland wall at 2.4km from the finish. The ITT began on Rue de Saint-Hilair and crossed river l’Ernée to begin the loop. Once across the bridge, the next 1.5km were all uphill, followed by rollers for another 10km. The stiff climb was just short of one kilometre, which hit once riders passed back through Challiand. The crest of the climb put them on a plateau with a relatively flat finish just past Le Tertre.

Louis Chaleil (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale U19) blitzed the route with a win in 19:01, with Barry 47 seconds off the pace in ninth and Streif was 17th, 1:17 off the pace. Edmonds was the next best of the group, in 51st at 2:13 down.

The event concluded with a 106.5km stage 3. After the opening 74.5km, there were three full circuits around Chailland, with the fourth pass across the finish line settling all accounts. Karl Sagnier (U19 Indre Fenioux) won stage 3 ahead of 33 other riders who remained in the front group. Ashlin worked his way back from the bike change to save his GC lead by six seconds over Joeri Schaper (ACROG-Tourmans U19), while Eliott Boulet (CC Plancoët Junior) was 10 seconds back in third.

GC results

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