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30th Cholet-Pays De Loire - 1.1
France, March 25, 2007
Augé against all expectations
By Jean-François Quénet in Cholet
One year after creating a surprise with a fast neo pro - Chris Sutton - in a race they had never won before, Cofidis doubled up in Cholet-Pays de Loire in a strange manner. Stéphane Augé was their only representative in a 22-men breakaway launched very early.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the "Primavera of the Mauges" (the name of the area around Cholet in the Northwest of France) was supposed to be another duel between local ProTour teams Française des Jeux and Bouygues Telecom, the latter becoming nervous because of being the only squad of the category with no win this year yet. BT was forced to ride offensively since they didn't feature any sprinter, contrary to Cofidis with Sutton or FDJ with Sébastien Chavanel.
BT's old men Didier Rous, Laurent Brochard and Arnaud Labbe were very active in the front. FDJ had Jérémy Roy and Swedish rookie Johan Lindgren in the front but none of their stars, with Sandy Casar and Sébastien Joly being kind of sick. Cofidis was clearly the unhappy team with only Augé in the leading group.
The bunch chased but they were loosing time! Sylvain Chavanel thought he could jump to the front by himself but he was like a boomerang. In the last 50 kilometers, FDJ decided to bring it back for the youngest of the Chavanel but at the same time, the breakaway became more active with many attacks.
"Jens Voigt was the strongest but everyone marked him and I believe he got sick of it", Roy underlined. The German really was sick in the end:. "I was left with no strength at the end," he said. "My daughters got a virus on Friday and I think they passed it on to me."
Strangely, Augé and Bretagne-Armor Lux' veteran Stéphane Pétilleau, 36, surprised everyone with breaking clear just before coming back to town. "We got on very well straight away," Pétilleau said. "I knew Augé would be faster than me, he takes part in bunch sprints at the Tour de France. Anyway, we are still looking for our first win in the French Cup but we're coming closer and closer."
Augé commented: "I was really scared of a bunch sprint finish after all the work we did in the front. The form I got at Paris-Nice made the difference at the end, I think. All the victories are sweet but this is my first one-day race. I came here with the idea of doing it." The 32 year-old Frenchman had collected four wins in stage races in the past, including one at the Pro Tour level at the Tour of Poland last year. He's known for attacking a lot. This time it wasn't for nothing.
How it unfolded
After too many bunch sprint finishes in the past few years, the organisers had decided to leave town eastwards and keep the main hills for the end. Local boy Freddy Bichot of Agritubel was the first man to attack in the côte des Gardes after 13 kilometers.
A front group of 22 riders was formed in the downhill, including: Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Tom Stubbe (Chocolate Jacques), Johan Lindgren and Jérémy Roy (Française des Jeux), Laurent Brochard, Arnaud Labbe and Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom), Julien Loubet (Ag2r), Anthony Charteau and Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Jens Voigt (CSC), Nico Sijmens and Jan Kuyckx (Landbouwkrediet), Bichot and Romain Feillu (Agritubel), Janek Tombak (Jartazi), Sébastien Duret, Piotr Zielinski and Stéphane Pétilleau (Bretagne-Armor Lux), Jérémy Galland (Auber 93), Mickaël Larpe (VC Roubaix) and Jonas Ljungblad (Canyon).
The Cofidis team of defending champion Chris Sutton didn't like this situation and chased behind. As they didn't close the gap, Sylvain Chavanel tried to go across by himself. He was 22 seconds down and the peloton just one minute down at km 64. But the French champion for time trial never made it. When he sat up at km 80, the bunch did so as well and the gap increased to 3 minutes.
Other teams took over in front of the bunch, mostly Chocolade Jacques with Ag2r in second lane. At km 150, with only three remaining climbs before the final circuit in Cholet, the leading group split in two parts. Augé, Roy, Brochard, Rous, Halgand, Voigt, Kuyckx, Bichot, Feillu, Tombak, Duret, Pétilleau and Ljungblad stayed away.
Voigt kept attacking. Halgand imitated him. Then it was up to Brochard. As soon as the 1997 world champion was rejoined, Pétilleau countered and Augé went with him. There were 15 km left. They only had a 22 seconds lead when they reached the finishing line with two laps of 4.4 km each to go. They maintained it. Pétilleau started sprinting first but he knew Augé was faster.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.com
1 Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis 4.47.39 2 Stéphane Petilleau (Fra) Bretagne -Armor Lux 0.03 3 Janek Tombak (Est) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 0.36 4 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 5 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole 6 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 7 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Agritubel 8 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux 9 Jonas Ljungblad (Swe) Canyon.com (Unibet) 10 Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne -Armor Lux 11 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 12 Mikel Gaztañaga (Spa) Agritubel 0.48 13 Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne -Armor Lux 14 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 15 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Crédit Agricole 16 Yohann Gene (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 17 Luis Pasamontes (Spa) Canyon.com (Unibet) 18 Coen Vertmeltfoort (Ned) Rabobank Continental 19 Troels Vinther (Den) Canyon.com (Unibet) 20 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bretagne -Armor Lux 21 Kilian Patour (Fra) Slipstream -Chipotle 22 Arjen De Baat (Ned) Rabobank Continental 23 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance 24 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Auber 93 25 Christophe Diguet (Fra) Auber 93 26 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance 27 Gil Suray (Bel) Canyon.com (Unibet) 28 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 29 Jean-Marc Marino (Fra) Crédit Agricole 30 Mathieu Claude (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 31 Jean Mespoulede (Fra) Auber 93 32 Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu) Agritubel 33 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Canyon.com (Unibet) 34 Martin Pedersen (Den) Team CSC 35 Johan Coenen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques 36 Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) Chocolade Jacques 37 Yann Huguet (Fra) Cofidis 38 Vincent Jerome (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 39 Sven Nevens (Bel) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 40 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Crédit Agricole 41 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 42 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis 43 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Continental 44 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Crédit Agricole 45 Anders Lund (Den) Team CSC 46 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Cofidis 47 Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 48 Anthony Colin (Fra) Roubaix -Lille Métropole 49 Niels Brouzes (Fra) Auber 93 50 Alexandr Khatuntsev (Rus) Canyon.com (Unibet) 51 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 52 Kasper Klostergaard (Den) Team CSC 53 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Crédit Agricole 54 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Auber 93 55 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 56 Jeremy Venell (NZl) DFL -Cyclingnews.com -Litespeed 57 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel 58 Christophe Edaleine (Fra) Crédit Agricole 59 Cédric Coutouly (Fra) Agritubel 60 Evgeny Popov (Rus) Rabobank Continental 61 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 62 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Continental 63 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance 64 David Boucher (Fra) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 65 Jarno Van Mingeroet (Bel) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 66 David Lelay (Fra) Bretagne -Armor Lux 67 Steven Cozza (USA) Slipstream -Chipotle 68 Daniel Fleeman (GBr) DFL -Cyclingnews.com -Litespeed 69 Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis 70 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 71 Nico Mattan (Bel) DFL -Cyclingnews.com -Litespeed 72 Peter Stetina (USA) Slipstream -Chipotle 73 Vytautas Kaupas (Ltu) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 74 Piotr Zielinski (Pol) Bretagne -Armor Lux 75 Yann Pivois (Fra) Bretagne -Armor Lux 76 Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis 77 Nicolas Hartmann (Fra) Cofidis 78 Florian Morizot (Fra) Auber 93 79 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Rabobank Continental 1.02 80 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance 1.06 81 Jean Zen (Fra) Roubaix -Lille Métropole 82 Noan Lelarge (Fra) Bretagne -Armor Lux 83 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Auber 93 84 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental 85 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Chocolade Jacques 86 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Chocolade Jacques 87 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 88 Nico Sijmens (Bel) Landbouwkrediet -Tönissteiner 89 Yohan Cauquil (Ger) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 90 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis 91 Geert Omloop (Bel) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 92 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux 93 Huub Duyn (Ned) Slipstream -Chipotle 94 Danny Pate (USA) Slipstream -Chipotle 95 Juan Pablo Wilches (Col) DFL -Cyclingnews.com -Litespeed 1.28 96 Didier Rous (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 97 Thom Van Dulmen (Ned) Rabobank Continental 98 Chris Anker Sorensen (Den) Team CSC 99 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Team CSC 100 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 101 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Crédit Agricole 2.10 102 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Roubaix -Lille Métropole 3.34 103 Paul Brousse (Fra) Roubaix -Lille Métropole 104 Krzysztof Miara (Pol) Intel -Action 105 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française des Jeux 4.48 106 Ian Mcleod (RSA) Française des Jeux 107 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) AG2R Prévoyance
French Cup standings after round 2 1 Stéphane Augé (Fra) Cofidis 50 pts 2 Stéphane Pétilleau (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 35 3 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Ag2r Prévoyance 4 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 20 5 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Crédit Agricole 18 6 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 17 7 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Agritubel 14 8 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux 12 9 Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 8 10 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 6
1 Bouygues Telecom 17 pts 2 Ag2r Prévoyance 16 3 Agritubel 15 4 Crédit Agricole 5 Bretagne-Armor Lux 14 6 Cofidis 13 7 Française des Jeux 9 8 Roubaix Lille Métropole 6 9 Auber 93 5
2006 Chris Sutton (Aus) Cofidis 2005 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bouygues 202 kms in 4.41.17 (43.088 km/h) 2004 Bert De Waele (Bel) 202 kms in 5.09.07 (39.208 km/h) 2003 Christophe Mengin (Fra) FDJeux 202 kms in 4.54.04 (41.215 km/h) 2002 Jimmy Casper (Fra) FJDeux.com 202 kms in 4.55.23 (40.218 km/h) 2001 Florent Brard (Fra) Festina 202 kms in 4.56.59 (40.810 km/h) 2000 Jens Voigt (Ger) 202 kms in 4.52.13 (41.065 km/h) 1999 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Casino 202 kms in 5.03.32 (39.925 km/h) 1998 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Casino 202 kms in 5.09.20 (39.181 km/h) 1997 Jann Kirsipuu (Est) 202 kms in 4.56.25 1996 Stéphan Heulot (Fra) 207 kms in 4.59.43 1995 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) 207 kms in 5.08.45 1994 Laurent Madouas (Fra) 207 kms in 5.26.59 1993 Marc Bouillon (Fra) 209 kms in 5.16.31 1992 Laurent Desbiens (Fra) 205 kms in 5.19.16 1991 Sammie Moreels (Bel) 205 kms in 5.12.03 1990 Kim Andersen (Den) 200 kms in 5.03.59 1989 Frank Boucanville (Fra) 238 kms in 6.24.53 1988 Patrick Onnockx (Bel) 241 kms in 6.33.46 1987 Frédéric Garnier (Fra) 239 kms in 6.23.33 1986 Domenique Lecrocq (Fra) 237 kms in 6.17.44 1985 Marc Madiot (Fra) 236 kms in 6.28.36 1984 Pascal Poisson (Fra) 233 kms in 5.55.10 1983 Eric Dall'Armellina (Fra) 1982 Pierre Bazzo (Fra) 220 kms in 5.24.37 1981 Roger Legeay (Fra) 1980 Roger Legeay (Fra) 1979 Pierre Bazzo (Fra) 1978 Jacques Bossis (Fra) Notes: In 1987 and 1989 it was called GP Cholet-Mauleon From 1990, it took the name of GP Cholet-Pays de Loire Between 1982-86 and 1988 the race was known as Mauleon - Moulins. Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com