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35th Tour de Vendée - 1.1
France, May 25, 2006
Gaztañaga ATOMizes them all!
By Jean-François Quénet in La Roche-sur-Yon
Mikel Gaztañaga of the Colombian-registered continental team ATOM has created a huge surprise by winning the Tour de Vendée ahead of Jimmy Casper of Cofidis. Most of all, he has beaten the whole Bouygues Telecom that was racing on home soil and was always in a favorable situation until...150 metres to go, when Thomas Voeckler and Bretagne-Jean Flochs Cédric Hervé were caught by the whole bunch.
The 26-year-old Gaztañaga hails from Itsasondo, a village in the Basque Country located 40 kilometres from San Sebastian, which has produced riders like Jokin Mugica and Aitor Garmendia. He raced with Cafés Baquè previously and got to ride the 2003 Tour de lAvenir at the service of David Lopez who joined Euskaltel. This is his first year with ATOM, the Colombian-registered, American continental team based in the Basque country and sponsored by an industrial vehicles company from Llogroño.
My aim is to join Euskaltel, the team of my heart and my country, but coming and racing in France would be just as good, as long as it is for a squad with a higher level programme, a satisfied Gaztañaga explained. He scored his second win this year after a stage of the Tour of Madrid. I also got six second places but I got sick of that," he said. "It was time for me to win for good, but I didnt expect it would happen in such a big race.
Gaztañaga knew that Vendée was the home of Bouygues Telecom. Vendée is written on their jersey and some Basque riders like Unai Yus have ridden for them before, so I knew who they were, how motivated they were, and I just had to hide myself all day. It was a total surprise for me to win, because I didnt even know the two guys away had been caught. I only realized when Jimmy Casper asked if I thought I was the winner or if he was, said the Spaniard.
For sure this was a big defeat for Bouygues Telecom but they obviously didnt want to risk a loss against the Breton continental team of Jean Floch. Hervé looked really good with one lap to go and Voeckler didnt help him much afterwards. Another disappointed squad was Française des Jeux, because Lilian Jégou spent a lot of energy in the front all day but crashed twice, including one at a few hundred metres to go, thus he lost his lead in the French cup to Lloyd Mondory who run fourth and will host the next leg, the Polynormande, on July 30th, close the town of Granville where he lives in Normandy.
How it unfolded
Frédéric Bessy (Cofidis) was the first man in action and soon, Piotr Zielinski of Bretagne-Jean Floch showed that he was interested in winning the hot spot sprints, which he did at the end. A total of 22 riders went away at km 60: Ian McLeod, Lilian Jégou, Mathieu Ladagnous and Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux), Laszlo Bodrogi (Crédit Agricole), Cédric Hervé, Sébastien Duret, Zielinski and Yann Pivois (Bretagne-Jean Floch), Bessy, Jimmy Casper and Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis), Walter Bénéteau, Vincent Jérôme and Jérôme Pineau (Bouygues Telecom), Mathieu Drujon and Maxime Médérel (Auber 93), Lloyd Mondory and Erki Pütsep (Ag2r), Gilles Canouet and Mickaël Buffaz (Agritubel) and Gianluca Geremia (Ceramica Flaminia). They gained more than two minutes lead, but Crédit Agricole and Jartazi chased hard. They were rejoined at km 120, except for Buffaz who persisted, and Simon Gerrans (Ag2r) who jumped away from the bunch and rejoined him.
Buffaz and Gerrans were reinforced by Jonas Ljungblad (Unibet.com), Bodrogi and Mark Renshaw (Crédit Agricole), Geoffroy Lequatre (Cofidis), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Niels Brouzes (Auber 93), Pütsep, Freddy Bichot (Française des Jeux), Robert Haynes (Jartazi) and Vladislav Borisov (Omnibike). From that group, Voeckler and Bichot went away as the race went on the course of next month's French championship race in Chantonnay (km 138).
With 50km to go, another star from Bouygues Telecom took off - Pineau, with a group of 17 behind him, including Bodrogi, Hervé, Lequatre and CJ Sutton (Cofidis), Bénéteau, Pierrick Fedrigo, Didier Rous and Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), Brouzes and Médérel, Stéphane Goubert, Pütsep and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Jégou, Bichot and Ladagnous, also Nicolas Crosbie (Agritubel). That group split in two with 40km to go, then Voeckler and Hervé went away with less than 20km to go. They looked like going for the win in the last lap of 4.2km but got caught 150 metres before the line, and Mikel Gaztañaga (ATOM) outsprinted Casper for the win.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jean-Francois Quenet
1 Mikel Echeverria Gaztanaga (Spa) Atom 4.53.46 (41.032km/h) 2 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Cofidis 3 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Credit Agricole 4 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 5 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Unibet.com 6 Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 7 Lénaïc Olivier (Fra) Agritubel 8 Cédric Herve (Fra) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h 9 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 10 Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h 11 Kristof Szczawinski (Pol) Ceramica Flaminia 12 John Nilsson (Swe) Auber 97 13 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Auber 97 14 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 15 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 16 Viacheslav Vilkov (Rus) Omnibike Dynamo Moscow 17 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Cofidis 18 Benoît Sinner (Fra) Agritubel 19 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 20 Takashi Miyazawa (Jpn) Cycling Team Vang 21 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 22 Robert Hamish Haynes (Gbr) Jartazi-7 Mobile 23 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Credit Agricole 24 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Cycling Team Vang 25 Jean Mespoulede (Fra) Auber 97 0.10 26 Graziano Gasparre (Ita) Amore Vita-McDonald's 0.12 27 Christophe Detilloux (Bel) Francaise des Jeux 28 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbowkrediet 29 Sébastien Duret (Fra) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h 0.14 30 Kevin Van Der Slagmolen (Bel) Jartazi-7 Mobile 31 Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) Cofidis 0.16 32 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole 33 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Cofidis 34 Yann Pivois (Fra) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h 0.18 35 Maxim Rudenko (Ukr) Ceramica Flaminia 36 Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Landbowkrediet 37 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Auber 97 38 Walter Beneteau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 39 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis 0.21 40 Mikel Fernandez Elgezabal (Spa) Atom 0.25 41 Vladislav Borisov (Rus) Omnibike Dynamo Moscow 42 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Agritubel 43 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Agritubel 44 Nicolas Crosbie (Fra) Agritubel 45 Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis 46 Tomasz Marczynski (Pol) Ceramica Flaminia 47 Piotr Zielinski (Pol) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h 48 Adriano Angeloni (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia 49 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 50 Giovanny Baez (Col) Atom 51 Simon Gerrans (Aus) AG2R-Prevoyance 52 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 53 Benjamin Johnson (Aus) Agritubel 54 Stéphane Petilleau (Fra) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h 55 Sven Nevens (Bel) Jartazi-7 Mobile 56 Thierry Groote De (Bel) Jartazi-7 Mobile 57 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 58 Gilles Canouet (Fra) Agritubel 59 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis 0.45 60 Alejandro Diego Tamayo Martinez (Col) Atom 0.46 61 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Credit Agricole 0.48 62 Bjorn Hoeben (Ned) Procomm-Van Hemert 63 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Francaise des Jeux 0.51 64 Johan Coenen (Bel) Unibet.com 65 Niels Brouzes (Fra) Auber 97 0.55 66 Didier Rous (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.57 67 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 68 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R-Prevoyance 69 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Agritubel 1.04 70 Mathieu Heijboer (Ned) Cofidis 1.22 71 Erki Pütsep (Est) AG2R-Prevoyance 1.25 72 Gideon Jong De (Ned) Procomm-Van Hemert 1.50 73 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 2.13 74 Ian Mcleod (Rsa) Francaise des Jeux 2.19 75 Saïd Haddou (Fra) Auber 97 2.38 76 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Omnibike Dynamo Moscow 77 Lilian Jegou (Fra) Francaise des Jeux 2.57 78 Maarten Nijland (Ned) Procomm-Van Hemert 3.28 79 Jean-Claude Lebeau (Bel) Landbowkrediet 5.07 80 Drasutis Stundzia (Ltu) Unibet.com 7.36 DNF Camille Bouquet (Fra) Unibet.com DNF Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) Unibet.com DNF Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Unibet.com DNF Kurt Van De Wouwer (Bel) Unibet.com DNF Anthony Charteau (Fra) Credit Agricole DNF Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Credit Agricole DNF Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Credit Agricole DNF Sébastien Portal (Fra) Credit Agricole DNF Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h DNF Noan Lelarge (Fra) GS Bretagne Jean Floc'h DNF Vincent Jerome (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Rony Martias (Fra) Bouygues Telecom DNF Benoit Emilien Berges (Fra) Auber 97 DNF Florian Morizot (Fra) Auber 97 DNF David Chica Navas (Spa) AG2R-Prevoyance DNF Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Landbowkrediet DNF Sjef Wilde De (Bel) Landbowkrediet DNF David Verheyen (Bel) Landbowkrediet DNF Yohan Cauquil (Fra) Jartazi-7 Mobile DNF Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Jartazi-7 Mobile DNF Vytautas Kaupas (Ltu) Jartazi-7 Mobile DNF Jan Soetens (Bel) Jartazi-7 Mobile DNF Stefano Boggia (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia DNF Gianluca Geremia (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia DNF Massimiliano Martella (Ita) Ceramica Flaminia DNF Hubert Krys (Pol) Ceramica Flaminia DNF Daniele Batte Di (Ita) Amore Vita-McDonald's DNF Simone Guidi (Ita) Amore Vita-McDonald's DNF Jakub Lorek (Pol) Amore Vita-McDonald's DNF Christopher Stevenson (Swe) Amore Vita-McDonald's DNF Artur Krol (Pol) Amore Vita-McDonald's DNF Koji Fukushima (Jpn) Cycling Team Vang DNF Shinichi Fukushima (Jpn) Cycling Team Vang DNF Kazuo Inoue (Jpn) Cycling Team Vang DNF So Tanaka (Jpn) Cycling Team Vang DNF Junya Sano (Jpn) Cycling Team Vang DNF David Iniguez Perez (Spa) Atom DNF Jesus De Arlés Tavares Carvajal (Col) Atom DNF Gaizka Larraya Lasa (Spa) Atom DNF Carlos Andres Ibanez Gonzalez (Col) Atom DNF Alexey Shmidt (Rus) Omnibike Dynamo Moscow DNF Alexey Bauer (Rus) Omnibike Dynamo Moscow DNF Vasily Khatuntsev (Rus) Omnibike Dynamo Moscow DNF Juha-Matti Alaluusua (Fin) Procomm-Van Hemert DNF Yvo Kusters (Ned) Procomm-Van Hemert DNF Tim Van Der Zanden (Ned) Procomm-Van Hemert DNF Martin Vestby (Nor) Procomm-Van Hemert
2005 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Amore & Vita-Beretta-Polska 201 km in 5.02.10 (39.911km/h) 2004 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Credit Agricole 193 km in 4.55.27 (39.255 km/h) 2003 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) AG2R Prevoyance 2002 Franck Bouyer (Fra) Bonjour 201.4km in 4.54.24 (41.046 km/h) 2001 Didier Rous (Fra) Bonjour 206 kms in 4.51.32 (42.479 km/h) 2000 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R-Prevoyance 200.2 kms in 4.45.16 1999 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Casino 204 kms in 4.52.05 1998 Marco di Renzo (Ita) Cantina-Tollo 204 kms in 4.56.54 1997 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) 1996 Laurent Desbiens (Fra) 1995 Mario De Clercq (Bel) 1994 Patrick Van Roosbroeck (Bel) 1993 Dimitry Zhdanov (Rus) 1992 Bruno Cornillet (Fra) 1991 Fabrice Naessens (Bel) 1990 Francois Lemarchand (Fra) 1989 Laurent Bezault (Fra) 1988 Alberto Leanizbarrutia (Spa) 1987 Jean-Claude Colotti (Fra) 1986 Francis Castaing (Fra) 1985 Michel Bibillet (Fra) 1984 Claude Moreau (Fra) 1983 Pierre Bazzo (Fra) 1982 Serge Beucherie (Fra) 1981 Bernard Bourreau (Fra) 1980 Jean-René Bernaudeau (Fra) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com