Circuit de La Sarthe (France, Cat 2.4) March 10-13

Stage One
Stage Two
Stage Three
Stages 4 and 5 and Final GC


The Circuit de la Sarthe stage race began today with a 150km stage from 
Sable to Sable. 

The other stages:

Stage 2 (April 11) Sble--Chateau-du-Loir (187.9km)
Stage 3 (April 12) Chateau-du-Loir--Sille-le-Guillaume (199,5km)
Stage 4 (April 13) Vivoin--Vivoin time trial (20.7km)
Stage 5 (April 13) Vivoin--Le Mans (98.1km)

Teams and principal riders:

AGRIGEL: Bernard, Bourgeot, Bouyer
GAN: Boardman, Heulot, Pensec, Rue, Rous, Simon
PETIT CASINO: De Las Cuevas, Aubier, Kasputis, Kirsipuu
FORCESUD: Arroyo, Lance, Rinero
AUBERVILLIERS: Boussard, Breseet, Talmant, Teyssier
MUTUELLE DE SEINE-ET-MARNE: Chauviere, N. Jalabert, Maignan
MAPEI-GB: Baffi, Nardello, Borgheresi, Vandenbroucke
AKI: Citterio, Dojwa, Delion, Mentheour
ONCE: Rojas
LOTTO: Kozlitine
MX-ONDA: Cordes, Moller
BOAVISTA: Cepele, Freitas
COLLSTROP: Salmon, Bouvard
VENDEE U: Beneteau, Blanchard, Bricaud
NORWAY: Simensen, Andersen

Stage 1 Sable-sur-Sarthe - Sable-sur-Sarthe, 150 km:

 1. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-GB             3.22.17 (44,492 km/h)
 2. Arturas Kasputis (Lit) Petit Casino          + 0.01
 3. Paul van Hyfte (Bel) Lotto
 4. Christophe Rinero (Fra) Forcesud
 5. Marcelino Garcia (Spa) Once
 6. Francisco Garcia (Spa)
 7. Gerard Rue (Fra) Gan                       all s.t.
 8. Francois Simon (Fra) Gan                    + 0.52
 9. Federico Colonna (Ita) Mapei-GB               s.t.
10. Beneteau (Fra Vendee U)
36. Chris Boardman (GB, GAN)   			all s.t
81. Armand De Las Cuevas (Fr, Petit Casino)   	+ 3.55
87 Blaise Chauviere (Fr, La Mutuelle de Seine)  +16.23

(87 classified)

Abandon: Bernard

Stage One Report

Danielo Nardello's win sprang from an escape that developed at mid-race involving seven riders who held out to the finish -- Nardello, Kasputis, Van Hyfte, Rinero, Rue. Marcelino and Francisco Garcia -- and an eighth rider dropped later on, the Spaniard Jose Luis Santamaria (MX- Onda. The break built a maximum lead of 3 minutes, pulled back to 52 seconds at the finish.

Earlier in the day, Chris Boardman, apparently unaffected by his Paris--Camembert crash, had set off on an attack, accompanied by ONCE's "Kiko" (Francisco) Garcia, later to figure in the decisive break. The 52 seconds taken by the front runners may be too much for Boardman to make up in the time trial, and Rue may be GAN's best hope but today's (April 11) stage is hillier.

Jean-Francois Bernard (Agrigel) abandoned after 20km, but Armand De Las Cuevas (Petit Casino), though 3.55 down, at least finished his first race of the season.

Stage 2 Sable-sur-Sarthe - Chateau-du-Loir 187,9 km:

 1. Federico Colonna (Ita) Mapei-GB     4.45.03 (39,551 km/h)
 2. Jann Kirsipuu (Est) Petit Casino
 3. Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Collstrop       
 4. Francois Simon (Fr, GAN)
 5. David Exteberria (Sp, ONCE)
 6. ?????? Andersen (Norway)
 7. Nicolas Jalabert (Fr, La Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne)
 8. ????? Karlborn (Norway)
 9. Oleg Kozlitine (Kaz, Lotto)
10. Eric Declercq (Bel, Collstrop) 	all s.t.


 1. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-GB     8:07:20
 2. Christophe Rinero (Fra) Forcesud       s.t.
 3. Paul van Hyfte (Bel) Lotto           + 0.01
 4. Arturas Kasputis (Lith, Petit Casino-Cest votre equipe) 
 5. Francisco Garcia (Sp, ONCE)
 6. Gerard Rue (Fr, GAN)
 7. Marcelino Garcia (Sp, ONCE)    	all s.t.
 8. Federico Colonna (It, Mapei-GB)  	 + 0.04
 9. Kirsipuu    			 + 0.46
10. Luis Sarreira (Port, Boavista) 	 + 0.47

Stage Two Report

The stage started with a long escape (148km) by Portuguese rider Luis Sarreira (Boavista). Caught first at 30km to the finish by Jean-Pierre Bourgeot (Fr, Agrigel), Francisque Teyssier (Fr, Aubervilliers) and Oleg, Kozlitine (Kaz. Lotto) he was then swept up by the whole peloton, which was all together still for the sprint.

Stage 3 199,5 km:

 1. Adriano Baffi (Ita) Mapei-GB        4.46.30 (41,717 km/h)
 2. Stephane Heulot (Fra) Gan            + 0.04
 3. Mariano Rojas (Spa) Once             + 0.05
 4. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Mutuelle      + 2.52
 5. Peter de Clercq (Bel) Collstrop      + 6.53
 6. Francois Simon (Fr, GAN)
 7. ?????? Beneteau (Fr, Vendee U)
 8. Daniele Nardello (It, Mapei-GB)
 9. Gerard Rue (Fr, GAN)
10. ?????Blanchard (Fr, Vendee U)

Originally part of the breakaway with Baffi, Heulot and Rojas, Nicolas 
Jalabert was dropped 20km from the finish but held off the peloton 
to take fourth place.


 1. Adriano Baffi (Ita) Mapei-GB       12.54.27
 2. Stephane Heulot (Fra) Gan            + 0.09
 3. Mariano Rojas (Spa) Once             + 0.15
 4. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Mutuelle      + 3.07
 5. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-GB      + 6.16
 6. Rue  				 + 6.17
 7. Paul Van Hyfte (Bel, Lotto)  	 + 6.20
 8. Arturas Kasputis (Lith, Petit Casino-C'est votre equipe) s.t.
 9. Francisco Garcia (Sp, ONCE)  	   s.t.
10. Marcelino Garcia (Sp, ONCE) 	   s.t.

Stage 4 ITT 20,750 km:

 1. Adriano Baffi (Ita) Mapei-GB         24.31 (50,749 km/h)
 2. Didier Rous (Fra) Gan               + 0.10
 3. Mariano Rojas (Spa) Once            + 0.25
 4. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-GB     + 0.33
 5. Rue  				+ 1.02
 6. Simone Borgheresi (It, Mapei-GB)	+ 1.12
 7. Miguel Morras (Sp, ONCE) 		+ 1.15
 8. F. Garcia 				+ 1.15
 9. Tom Cordes (Neth, MX Onda)  	+ 1.18
10. Simon 				+ 1.22

Stage 5, Vivoin-Le Mans, 98.1 kms April 12

 1. Francois Simon (Fra) Gan            2.10.51 (44,983 km/h)
 2. Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Collstrop        + 0.32
 3. Franck Bouyer (Fra) Agrigel            s.t.
 4. Federico Colonna (Ita) Mapei-GB        s.t.
 5. David Exteberria (Sp, ONCE)
 6. ?????? Karlbom (Norway)
 7. Rue 
 8. N. Jalabert
 9. Borgheresi
10. Kurt Van de Wouwer (Bel, Lotto)    all s.t.

Final Day Report

Chris Boardman (GB, GAN) warmed up for the time trial but decided not to start because of pains that showed up in his ankle on Thursday (apparently related to his crash in Paris-Camembert). It's not the ankle injured in the Tour prologue last year. Boardman flew home but has not yet spoken of scratching in the Fleche Wallonne or Liege-Bastogne-Liege this week.

In the final stage Francois Simon (GAN) attacked in company with Vendee U rider Beneteau, gaining a minute on the peloton on the finishing circuit where Beneteau cracked. Simon was delighted with his first victory in more than two years.


 1. Adriano Baffi (Ita) Mapei-GB       15.30.21
 2. Mariano Rojas (Spa) Once             + 0.40
 3. Stephane Heulot (Fra) Gan            + 1.41
 4. Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Mutuelle      + 5.06
 5. Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-GB      + 6.49
 6. Didier Rous (Fra) Gan                + 7.19
 7. Gerard Rue (Fra) Gan                   s.t.
 8. F. Garcia 				 + 7.35
 9. Kasputis 				 + 7.48
10. Simon  				 + 7.58