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GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise - 1.1

France, February 1, 2005

2004 Results    Results    Past winners

Sørensen reigns in confused finish

Nicki Sörensen (CSC) wins
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Danish rider Nicki Sørensen (CSC) took advantage of a confused finish to take victory in this year's edition of the Grand Prix d'Ouverture La Marseillaise, ahead of his Russian team mate Vladimir Gusev and Italian Daniele Masolino (LPR).

Sørensen won from the 19-rider sprint finish after breakaway riders Wim Van Huffel (Davitamon-Lotto) and Philippe Gilbert (Française des Jeux) were misdirected four kilometres from the line. Doubling back to return to the course, the pair lost their 44 second margin and had to settle for finishing with the bunch.

Earlier in the day, a group of about twenty racers had escaped, taking advantage of the difficult climbs of the the Grand Caunet (km 41) and the Col du Pas de la Couelle (km 88), relegating the peloton to more than ten minutes.

Nicki Sørensen was stoked with his win. "I'm very happy to win," he said. "It's always a great feeling. It was quite a confusing finish, and it all got a bit hectic.

CSC Team Director Kim Andersen was also a happy man. "We had a nice day. To start the season with a win is something all teams dream about," he said.

Life's a beach
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But Lotto-Davitamon manager Marc Sergeant was angry about the organizational error that he felt cost his rider a chance at the win. "The organisation acts as if nothing happened," said Sargeant, "but Wim could have won today, now he's got nothing. It is necessary to ride this race at the start of the season but the organisation is poor."

Scott Sunderland, Team CSC's second directeur sportif in the race explained what had happened. "Our team definitely put their mark on the race," said Sunderland. "With 40km to go Jens Voigt went in a break with Phillippe Gilbert (FdJ), Fredigo and Van Huffel (Lotto-Davitamon)."

"It was unfortunate for Jens Voigt to have those sudden and violent stomach cramps with only 9 more kms to go; as he was the one who drove it over the top of the climb and his aggressive riding had initiated that decisive split."

"Jens came to the car and told us he couldn't keep riding that hard as he felt nauseous and had terrible pain in the gut. Just then Van Huffel and Gilbert attacked and they quickly gained time. A group of five riders formed behind them, they were at 30 sec when they crossed the finish line going into the last lap with a group of another 15 riders following closely. But then, with 3.5km to go Van Huffel and Gilbert went left instead of right at the roundabout so suddenly those five guys found themselves racing for the win."

"Those new leaders then went the wrong way around the roundabout and got caught too. So a group of 19 sprinted for the finish. Brian Vanborg (CSC) who did a great job closing the initial gap to the leaders, also led out the sprint for Nicki and Vladimir and it was a close sprint between our two riders."

Nicki Sörensen (CSC)
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Sørensen agreed that it was "quite a confusing finish, and it all got a bit hectic. There were two riders, who attacked shortly before the end, and they would've probably made it, if they hadn't taken a wrong turn. The group I was in, was led through the same roundabout twice, and it was all very chaotic. But I won, and that's the main thing. The sprint was slightly uphill, and I managed to take advantage of this in the best possible way. I'm very happy with my start to the season and I hope, I'll be able to keep up the form I have right now."


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by AFP Photo

Images by Régis Garnier/

Results - 128,3 km

1 Nicki Sörensen (Den) Team CSC                         3.20.40 (38.4 km/h)
2 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) Team CSC
3 Daniele Masolino (Ita) Team LPR
4 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Crédit Agricole
5 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux
6 Eddy Seigneur (Fra) RAGT Semences
7 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance
8 Ludovic Martin (Fra) RAGT Semences
9 Julien Mazet (Fra) Auber 93
10 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux
11 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
12 Brian Vandborg (Den) Team CSC                           0.10
13 Johan Coenen (Bel) MrBookmaker-Sportstech
14 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-T Interim
15 Glenn D'Hollander (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago
16 Mikel Charreau (Spa) Ag2r Prévoyance
17 Thierry Marichal (Bel) Cofidis
18 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux
19 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques-T Interim
20 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                    0.20
21 Giairo Ermeti (Ita) Miche                               1.11
22 Philip Deignam (Irl) Ag2r Prévoyance                    1.45
23 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance
24 Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC                               6.09
25 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis                            7.02
26 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Credit Agricole
27 Antonio D'Aniello (Ita) Miche
28 Stéphane Berges (Fra) Agritubel                         9.31
29 Claude Pauwels (Bel) Jartazi-Revor 


Grand Caunet - 20 km

1 Sandy Casar (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux                  6 pts
2 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC                                     4
3 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                     2

Grand Caunet - 38 km

1 Sandy Casar (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux                  6 pts
2 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) CSC                                 4
3 Claude Pauwels (Bel) Jartazi-Revor                       2

Pas de la Couelle - 88 km

1 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC                                     6 pts
2 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) La Francaise des Jeux             4
3 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                     2

Final classification

1 Sandy Casar (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux                 12 pts
2 Jens Voigt (Ger) CSC                                    10
3 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) CSC                                 4
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) La Francaise des Jeux             4
5 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Davitamon-Lotto                     4
6 Claude Pauwels (Bel) Jartazi-Revor                       2

Young rider

1 Vladimir Gusev (Rus) CSC                               
2 Jeremy Roy (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 
3 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) La Francaise des Jeux 
4 Philip Deignan (Irl) Ag2R 

Past winners

2004 Baden Cooke (Aus)
2003 Ludo Dierckxsens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Colnago 2002 Xavier Jan (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 2001 Jakob Piil (Den) CSC World Online 2000 Emmanuel Magnien (Fra)