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Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

 UCI codes explained

8th Classic Loire Atlantique - 1.2

France, March 23, 2007

2006 Results    Results    Past winners

Old fox bluffs Russian star

By Jean-François Quénet in La Haye Fouassière

Nicolas Jalabert wins
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

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

The big escape of the day.
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

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.

Photography

For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.com

Results - 182.5 km

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

Past winners

2006 Sergeï Kolesnikov (Rus) Omnibike
2005 Alberto Martinez (Spa)  Agritubel    
2004 Erki Pütsep (Est) Ag2r Prévoyance 
2003 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Brioches La Boulangère
2002 Rune Jogert (Nor)