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Tour du Finistère - 1.1
France, April 21, 2007
Brouzes delivers Auber 93's yearly French Cup win
By Jean-François Quénet in Quimper
Continental French outfit Auber 93, who used to ride the Tour de France under the sponsorship of BigMat until 2002, is making a habit of winning one of the 15 French cup races every year. After Tristan Valentin at the Tro Bro Léon in 2005 and Emilien-Benoît Bergès in Villers-Cotterêts last year, 26 year-old Niels Brouzes claimed his first pro win at the Tour du Finistère for the squad.
"This is fantastic," he said. "Psychologically, I trained for that moment. If we don't think that winning is possible, we never make it. On Thursday, I was riding my bike with this idea in mind that I'd win today. I've done enormous sacrifices for living the life of a bike rider. It's a fantastic job when it comes to winning!"
Brouzes, who has grand fathers from the Ukraine and Norway, which explains why he has a Danish first name although he's a pure Parisian born in Drancy, wasn't born a cyclist: he was an excellent young tennis player. In international tournaments, he even played against Juan Carlos Ferrero before he decided to switch to cycling, following the example of his father Jean-Marcel who represented France at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, but never became a pro rider.
Brouzes was a good track rider and a time trial specialist when he won the Chrono des Herbiers (now Chrono des Nations) in the U23 category. "But with Auber 93, I can't work specifically as a time triallist," he said. "I've had to train differently for being able to climb the way I did today in the presence of world class riders like Thomas Voeckler and Pierrick Fedrigo."
The last race he'd won was a stage of the UCI2.2 Tour de la Manche in 2005. "I improve every year," added the cyclist, who started his career in 2002 with BigMat-Auber. "I'm coming slowly to the level I've aimed at for years."
Cofidis' Yann Huguet, who hails from the Bordeaux wine route between Pauillac and St-Estèphe, is doing extremely well this month. "I've tried to thank my team for all the good work that had been done before", he said, in a humble way after taking the second place behind Brouzes. He has already been third at the Route Adélie two weeks ago and made the front group at Paris-Camembert as well, making the Frenchman a rider to watch for the future.
Huguet is the best young rider of the French cup, now led by Rémi Pauriol. The latter was frustrated to finish the Tour du Finistère in fourth position, due to cramps that didn't allow him to defend in the final sprint.
How it unfolded
After several unsuccessful skirmishes, Giovanni Bernaudeau (Bouygues Telecom), Benoît Poilvet (Crédit Agricole), Maryan Hary (Cofidis), Mickaël Delage (Française des Jeux), Blaise Sonnery (Ag2r), Florian Morizot (Auber 93), Piotr Zielinski (Bretagne-Armor Lux), Ramuntxo Garmendia (Flanders) and Koji Fukushima (Nippo Meitan) managed to get away after 42 kilometres. They got a lead of 44 seconds at 70 kilometres but just two kilometers later had been recaptured by the bunch.
Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom), Amaël Moinard (Cofidis) and Julien Loubet (Ag2r) took over and a group of 40 riders was formed behind them. On the final circuit, another race started with 45 kilometres to go. Yoann Le Boulanger (Bouygues Telecom) attacked for the first time. Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux) and Andrey Klyuev (Moscow Stars) came to help but a new front group was created under the action of the Crédit Agricole riders Anthony Charteau, Rémi Pauriol and Benoît Poilvet.
Le Boulanger decided to go by himself again with almost just on 40 kilometres to go. His teammate Thomas Voeckler jumped on every single wheel he could in an attempt to go across. It was only during the last lap, with five kilometres to go, that the Bouygues Telecom's Le Boulanger was caught. From the chasing group, Niels Brouzes (Auber 93) attacked as the course headed downhill, with Yann Huguet (Cofidis) shadowing his move. Klyuev counter attacked with Pauriol on his wheel, but these two had to spend too much energy catching the leading duo.
Brouzes sprinted from far and signed his first pro win, following the path of Simon Gerrans and Sergey Kolesnikov who won the event in the past two editions.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.com
1 Niels Brouzes (Fra) Auber 4.20.19 (43.332 km/h) 2 Yann Huguet (Fra) Cofidis 3 Andrey Klyuev (Rus) Moscow Stars 4 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Crédit Agricole 5 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française Des Jeux 0.05 6 Alexandre Usov (Blr) Ag2r Prévoyance 7 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada 8 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 0.11 9 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Crédit Agricole 10 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis 11 John Gadret (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance 12 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis 13 Nicholas Roche (Irl) Crédit Agricole 14 Yann Pivois (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 15 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Agritubel 0.17 16 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française Des Jeux 0.27 17 Yoann Le Boulanger (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.32 18 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Cofidis 0.50 19 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 0.54 20 Noan Lelarge (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 1.07 21 Maryan Hary (Fra) Cofidis 2.20 22 Nicolas Hartmann (Fra) Cofidis 23 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole 24 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Crédit Agricole 25 Maxime Médérel (Fra) Auber 26 Laurent Lefèvre (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 27 Benjamin Johnson (Aus) Slipstream-Chipotle 3.01 28 Anthony Ravard (Fra) Agritubel 3.04 29 Johan Lindgren (Swe) Française Des Jeux 30 Mikel Gaztañaga Echeverria (Spa) Agritubel 3.11 31 Julien Loubet (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance 32 Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole 33 Alex Coutts (GBr) Babes Only-Villapark Langemeer-Flanders 34 Rene Mandri (Est) Ag2r Prévoyance 35 Jeremie Galland (Fra) Auber 36 Kenny Van Braeckel (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 3.22 37 Huub Duyn (Ned) Slipstream-Chipotle 38 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Auber 3.24 39 Sergey Shcherbakov (Rus) Moscow Stars 40 Robby Meul (Bel) DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed 41 Matti Helminen (Fin) DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed 42 Blaise Sonnery (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance 43 Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) DFL-Cyclingnews-Litespeed 44 Philip Deignan (Irl) Ag2r Prévoyance 45 Philipp Ludescher (Aus) Volksbank 3.27 46 Junya Sano (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada 3.29 47 Jean-Paul Simon (Bel) Babes Only-Villapark Langemeer-Flanders 48 Kazuya Okazaki (Jpn) Nippo Corporation - Meitan Honpo Co LTD - Asada 49 Nicolas Crosbie (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 50 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom 51 Sven Nevens (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 52 Paul Brousse (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole 53 Carl Naibo (Fra) Ag2r Prévoyance 54 Mickaël Delage (Fra) Française Des Jeux 55 Florian Morizot (Fra) Auber (Fra) Auber 56 Piotr Zielinski (Pol) Bretagne - Armor Lux 3.35 57 Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Française Des Jeux 58 Ildar Zakirov (Rus) Moscow Stars 59 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Crédit Agricole 3.59 60 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis 61 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Crédit Agricole 62 Peter Ronsse (Bel) Babes Only-Villapark Langemeer-Flanders 63 Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 64 Tyler Butterfield (Ber) Slipstream-Chipotle 65 Jan Soetens (Bel) Jartazi Promo Fashion 4.04 Starters: 124 non-starters: 1
2006 Sergey Kolesnikov (Rus) Dynamo Moscow 2005 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Ag2r Prevoyance 2004 Daniele Balestri (Ita) ICET 2003 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) Fdjeux.com 2002 David Bernabeu Armengol (Spa) Carvalhelhos-Boavista 2001 Franck Renier (Fra) Bonjour 2000 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Crédit Agricole 1999 Laurent Estadieu (Fra) 1998 Franck Trottel (Fra) 1997 Walter Beneteau (Fra) 1996 Camille Coualan (Fra) 1995 Michel Lallouet (Fra) 1994 Pascal Deramé (Fra) 1993 (2) Domenique Le Bon (Fra) 1992 Pierre-Henry Menthéour (Fra) 1991 Domenique Le Bon (Fra) 1990 Philippe Mondory (Fra) 1989 (2) Philippe Dalibard (Fra) 1988 Pierre Le Bigaut (Fra) 1987 Philippe Dalibard (Fra) 1986 Jean-Jacques Lamour (Fra)