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8th Classic Loire Atlantique - 1.2
France, March 23, 2007
Old fox bluffs Russian star
By Jean-François Quénet in La Haye Fouassière
The Jalabert name is still a winner. For the first time since Laurent retired at the end of 2002, Nicolas has raised his arms in the air after out-sprinting rising Russian star Yuriy Trofimov at the end of a very demanding Classic Loire-Atlantique near Nantes.
While racing for CSC, the youngest of the Jalabert brothers, now 34, claimed overall victory in the Niedersachsen Rundfahrt in 2003, but the last time he crossed a line first was in August 2002 at the Tour of Poitou-Charentes. "Four years, it's been a while", said Jalabert, feeling like a winner again. Last year he was a domestique for Tour de France winner Floyd Landis at Phonak.
Jalabert joined Agritubel after the fall out of the Swiss team, and set himself the goal of winning the French cup. And while the Classic Loire-Atlantique isn't a French cup event, the 1.2 classified race provides the Frenchman with an appetizer prior to the Cholet-Pays de Loire, the second leg of the French cup on Sunday. After the Tour du Haut-Var where he finished second, Ag2r's Simon Gerrans leads the series which is exclusively for members of French teams.
"Because of the French cup, the month of April is very important for me this year," explained Jalabert. The Classic Loire-Atlantique was more than a test for him. "It was a very difficult race in fact. We faced very hard conditions with rain and head win most of the time, also with only one minute advantage all day. Trofimov took the initiative on the last climb, I followed him, then it was a question of bluffing to get the win."
Trofimov was confident one week after claiming Paris-Troyes, and maybe too much. The Russian fell in Jalabert's trap when the old Frenchman forced him to do all the work at the end.
How it unfolded
After 20 kilometres of racing, a large group of 25 riders broke clear: Nicolas Jalabert and Benoît Sinner (Agritubel), Niels Brouzes and Renaud Pioline (Auber 93), Antoine Dalibard and Piotr Zielinski (Bretagne-Armor Lux), Steven Tronet (VC Roubaix), Slawomir Kohut (CCC Polsat), Takashi Miyazawa and Junya Sano (Nippo-Meitan), Mario Ickx, Geert Omloop and Janek Tombak (Jartazi), Vassily Khatuntsev, Yuriy Trofimov, Denis Vorontsov and Viatcheslav Vilkov (Moscow Stars), Arjen De Baat, Coen Vermeltfoort and Tom van Dulmen (Rabobank), Benjamin Justesen (Vision Bikes Logstor), Franck Charrier (CC Nogent-sur-Oise), Thierry David VC La Pomme Marseille, Jonathan Dayus (U Nantes-Atlantique) and Alexandre Bousseau Vendée U.
The break reached a maximum lead of three minutes despite the chase from Ledecq-Storez, but the Belgian team never had the horsepower to reign in the leaders. As VC Roubaix took over driving the peloton, Brouzes attacked from the front group at km 92. Seven riders joined him: Jalabert, Zielinski, Sano, Omloop, Trofimov, Van Dulmen and David.
On the finishing circuit of La Haye Fouassière, the gap to the chasers was 1'30. Jalabert responded to an attack by Trofimov and the duo went away. Trofimov tried twice to escape and finish solo, causing Jalabert to stop taking spells on the front.
With the leading duo not working effectively, Piotr Zielinski almost pegged them back in the final kilometres but Jalabert had enough in reserve to out-sprint Trofimov and keep a few metres lead on the Polish rider at the end.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.com
1 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Agritubel 4.11.01 (43.623 km/h) 2 Yuriy Trofimov (Rus) Moscow Stars 3 Piotr Zielinski (Pol) Bretagne-Armor Lux 0.01 4 Geert Omloop (Bel) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 0.10 5 Niels Brouzes (Fra) Auber 93 6 Thom Van Dulmen (Ned) Rabobank Continental 7 Thierry David (Fra) VC La Pomme Marseille 8 Andrey Klyuev (Rus) Moscow Stars 1.02 9 Olivier Pardini (Bel) Storez-Ledecq Matériaux 1.17 10 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 11 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 12 Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 13 Evgeny Popov (Rus) Rabobank Continental 14 Janek Tombak (Est) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 15 Olivier Migne (Fra) Vendée U 16 Mateusz Mroz (Pol) CCC-Polsat 17 Dennis Van Winden (Ned) Rabobank Continental 18 Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Métropole 19 David Tanner (Aus) VC La Pomme Marseille 20 Jaroslaw Rebiewski (Pol) CCC-Polsat 21 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Nippo-Meitan Honpo 22 Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 1.20 23 Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 1.22 24 Mikel Gaztañaga (Spa) Agritubel 1.48 25 Mariusz Wiesiak (Pol) Nippo-Meitan Honpo 26 Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Rabobank Continental 27 Mathieu Delaroziere (Fra) VC La Pomme Marseille 28 Slawomir Kohut (Pol) Amore and Vita-McDonald's 29 Miyataka Shimizu (Jpn) Nippo-Meitan Honpo 30 Denis Vorontsov (Rus) Moscow Stars 1.52 31 Arjen De Baat (Ned) Rabobank Continental 1.54 32 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Auber 93 1.59 33 Cyrille Noel (Fra) Super Sport-AC Noyal Chatillon 34 Marek Wesoly (Pol) CCC-Polsat 35 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank Continental 36 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Rabobank Continental 37 Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) CC Nogent/Oise 38 Florian Hervo (Fra) Super Sport-AC Noyal Chatillon 39 Jean-Noël Wolf (Fra) Storez-Ledecq Matériaux 40 Thomas Bendixen (Den) Vision Bikes 41 Johan Cauquil (Fra) Jartazi-Promo Fashion 42 Christopher Stevenson (Swe) Amore and Vita-McDonald's 43 Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu) Agritubel 44 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Continental 45 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Auber 93 46 Maxime Guesdon (Fra) Super Sport-AC Noyal Chatillon 47 Konstantin Ponomarev (Rus) Moscow Stars 48 Jonathan Balbuena (Fra) VC La Pomme Marseille 49 Jonathan Brunel (Fra) VC La Pomme Marseille 50 Roman Maximov (Rus) Moscow Stars 51 Michael Stevenson (Swe) Amore and Vita-McDonald's 52 Lukasz Goralewski (Pol) Amore and Vita-McDonald's 53 Tomasz Kiendys (Pol) CCC-Polsat 54 Mads Bugge Andersen (Den) Vision Bikes 55 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Agritubel 56 Julien Gonnet (Fra) Super Sport-AC Noyal Chatillon 57 Guillaume Le Floch (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 58 Jean Mespoulede (Fra) Auber 93 59 Denis Robin (Fra) Agritubel 60 Anthony Ravard (Fra) Agritubel 61 Ignatas Konovalovas (Ltu) VC La Pomme Marseille 62 Jérémie Galland (Fra) Auber 93 63 Yann Pivois (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 64 Junya Sano (Jpn) Nippo-Meitan Honpo 65 Thibaut Mace (Fra) Vendée U 66 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Roubaix-Lille Métropole 67 Jonathan Dayus (GBr) U Nantes Atlantique 68 Mickaël Larpe (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Métropole 69 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel 70 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Métropole 71 Jean Zen (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Métropole 72 Antoine Dalibard (Fra) Bretagne-Armor Lux 73 Koji Fukushima (Jpn) Nippo-Meitan Honpo 74 Arnaud Lesvenan (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Métropole 75 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Auber 93 76 Benjamin Justesen (Den) Vision Bikes 2.50 77 Paul Brousse (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Métropole 4.32 Courtesy of Stéphane David
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