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GP Ouest France-Plouay - CDM & ProT
France, August 24-25, 2008
Stage 2 - August 25: Men's ProTour GP Ouest-France, 229.2 km
Fédrigo is Plouay's new hero
Bouyges Telecom takes second successive Ouest-France
By Ben Atkins in Plouay
Former French champion Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouyges Telecom) has won the Grand Prix Ouest-France in a three-man sprint over Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) and David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne). The three riders were all that remained of a 17 man move that formed in the closing stages of the race.
Fédrigo, Ballan and Lopez Garcia arrived at the finishing straight together, despite attempts by the Caisse d'Epargne rider to escape in the closing kilometres. In the end, the Frenchman proved to be fresher than the other two riders and he won the sprint comfortably over Ballan. Lopez Garcia rolled in three seconds later having sat up after being unable to live with the speed of the others.
As expected, the race was punctuated by a series of attacks, the first of which went clear inside the first of the 12, 19.1 kilometre circuits. No break managed to get what one might regard as a decisive gap, and it was while the peloton almost had the leaders in sight on the penultimate lap that Fédrigo managed to bridge across to what turned out to be the winning move.
Fédrigo's victory is the second in succession for the nearby Vendee-based Bouyges Telecom team after Thomas Voekler's solo dash for the line last year. It is also the Frenchman's biggest victory since his Tour de France stage victory into Gap in 2006.
"I have already won a stage of the Tour de France and been the champion of France [in 2005]," said Fédrigo. "So you could say that this victory in Plouay is the bronze medal in my palmares.
"I haven't completely recovered from the change in time zones," he said of his recent return from the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. "I still have concerns over catching up on my sleep. Luckily for me there was a big battle here today in Plouay."
Alessandro Ballan was one of the strongest riders in the breakaway, able to stay with the leaders until the finish, but once again found that his sprint couldn't match that of his rivals. The 2007 Ronde van Vlaanderen winner found himself too tired to compete with the faster Frenchman in the slightly uphill dash for the line.
"It was a very hard race," the Italian said. "There were lots of attacks and we got away in the last lap and worked together until the final kilometres. Coming into the finish I was very tired and Fédrigo was very, very strong.
"There is nothing to say," he added later. "Fédrigo was the strongest today…I was too tired at the finish to be able to compete in the sprint. I paid for the efforts that I had made to stay at the front."
After trying to distance his two breakaway companions in the last few kilometres due to fears over their superior sprints, Lopez Garcia was indeed unable to compete and sat up in the final 100 metres. He coasted over the line to take third place after being one of the most aggressive riders of the race.
Despite never looking like it would be able to catch the three escapees, the peloton accelerated over the final few kilometres to finish just 13 seconds behind Fédrigo. Australian Allan Davis bade farewell to his Mitsubishi-Jartazi team with a morale boosting victory in the dash for fourth before he moves over to the Quick Step team next week. Lopez Garcia' Caisse d'Epargne team-mate was just behind in fifth and local Breton rider Arnaud Gerard (Française des Jeux) was sixth.
In the absence of series leader Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne), and overall second placed Damiano Cunego (Lampre) finished in 36th, way out of the points, the result had very little bearing on the ProTour standings. Ballan's 30 points for second place move him up from 29th to 6th, and 40 points for the win elevate Fédrigo from 49th to 11th, neither though is any threat to the 123 points of Valverde.
How it unfolded
153 riders from 20 teams took the start with threatening skies hanging over the north-western France region of Bretagne. The westerly breeze experienced by yesterday's Women's World Cup race had stiffened considerably and threatened to bring showers over the course of the day.
Mid way around the first of twelve rolling laps a group of twelve riders escaped and the relaxed peloton was happy to allow them to escape.
The group consisted of: Giovanni Bernadeau (Bouygues Telecom), Imanol Erviti (Caisse d'Epargne), Stéphane Augé (Cofidis), Guillame Laverlet (Française des Jeux), Juan José Oroz (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Christian Knees (Milram), Adam Hansen (Columbia), Marco Marzano (Lampre), Alexandr Kuschynski (Liquigas), Jurgen Van De Walle (Quick Step), Marc De Maar (Rabobank) and Christophe Moreau (Agritubel).
Working well together, the group managed to build a lead of 3'29 by the end of the first lap, but were never allowed to get too far away thanks to work done on the front of the peloton by CSC-Saxo Bank and Mitsubishi-Jartazi.
After a few laps Augé dropped out of the break and was soon picked up by the peloton.
Continued work by the CSC-Saxo Bank and Mitsubishi-Jartazi teams reduced the lead by around 30 seconds per lap and by the race's halfway point at the end of lap six, the gap was just 39 seconds.
During the seventh lap though the CSC and Jartazi teams left the front and the pace of the peloton dropped considerably allowing the gap to grow to 2'48 as Gerolsteiner and Lampre moved forward.
Meanwhile, Van De Walle and Bernadeau were both dropped by the breakaway, leaving nine riders in front.
In the course of the eighth lap the Gerolsteiner and Lampre teams managed to get their chase organised – with Marzano no longer contributing in the break – and the gap dropped back to 1'08 at the line and continued to reduce as the next lap unfolded.
With just over 65km remaining the riders in the breakaway group began to look over their shoulders as the gap reduced to less than 20 seconds. To add to their problems, the light rain that had fallen during the first hour of the race returned. In the latter half of the lap though last year's winner Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom), David Lopez Garcia (Caisse d'Epargne) and Amaël Moinard (Cofidis) attacked from the peloton and managed to bridge across, while Knees was dropped. The lead with three laps to go was down to 22 seconds.
As the pace lifted in the peloton it began to split under pressure from the Lampre team.
Not wanting to hang around in a break that was seemingly doomed, Lopez Garcia attacked almost immediately and set off alone with Lavarlet in pursuit.
As the rest of the breakaway was swallowed by the peloton a group broke clear and joined Lavarlet in his chase of the lone Spaniard. The group of five consisted of: Maryan Hary (Cofidis), Lavarlet and Anthony Roux (both Française des Jeux), Franco Pellizotti (Liquigas) and David De La Fuente (Scott-American Beef).
Almost immediately, the five riders up front caught up with Lastras to form a group of six, who crossed the line with two laps to go ten seconds ahead of a group of eleven.
In the first few kilometres of the penultimate lap the six riders in front sat up to wait for the eleven chasers, meaning that there were now 17 riders up front almost a minute ahead of the peloton. The group consisted of: Jean Marc Marino (Credit Agricole), Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale), David Lopez Garcia and Pablo Lastras (both Caisse d'Epargne), Maryan Hary (Cofidis), Guillame Lavarlet, Frederic Guesdon and Anthony Roux (all Française des Jeux), Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner), Alessandro Ballan (Lampre) Kjell Carlström, Murilo Fischer and Franco Pellizotti (all Liquigas), Josep Jufré and David De La Fuente (both Scott-American Beef), Dmitry Kozontchuk and Bauke Mollema (both Rabobank).
Immediately the group had formed an attack went in from Lastras and he quickly gained 14 seconds. This had the effect of causing the group of 16 behind him to split as small groups tried to bridge to the lone Spaniard.
With the peloton not far behind, some riders were dropped and others joined the splintering group ahead, the most prominent name amongst them being former French Champion Pierrick Fédrigo (Bouygues Telecom).
An attack from De La Fuente pulled Ballan, Lopez Garcia, Roux and Fédrigo clear and the five riders were just six seconds behind Lastras as they took the bell for the final lap, with the peloton 30 seconds back.
Soon after the bell the five pursuers caught Lastras and the six-man break continued to maintain its advantage over the peloton now led by Liquigas.
On the laps second climb, with 12km to go, De La Fuente, Roux and Lastras were dropped and the three other riders continued. Attacks off the front of the peloton from riders like Giovanni Visconti and Alessandro Proni (both Quick Step) and the almost inevitable move by Romain Feillu (Agritubel) with Nick Nuyens (Cofidis) only had the effect of splitting the bunch rather than making any progress on the three breakaways.
Into the final kilometre, Lopez Garcia – fearing the other two in a sprint – tried to escape alone but he was pulled back by an attentive Fédrigo.
The three arrived in the finishing straight and Ballan was first to make his move. Fédrigo proved to be stronger than the Italian and took the victory by over two lengths. Lopez Garcia rolled over the line three seconds later, having sat up.
Australian Allan Davis (Mitsubishi-Jartazi) beat Jose Joaquin Rojas (Caisse d'Epargne) and Arnaud Gerard (Française des Jeux) in the sprint for fourth.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by CJ Farquharson/WomensCycling.net
Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.com
Images by Fabrice Lambert, Grand Prix de Plouay
1 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 5.42.44 (40.12 km/h) 2 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre 3 David Lopez Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.03 4 Allan Davis (Bel) Mitsubishi-Jartazi 0.13 5 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 6 Arnaud Gérard (Fra) Française des Jeux 7 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto 8 Romain Feillu (Fra) Agritubel 9 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Agritubel 10 Manuele Mori (Ita) Scott - American Beef 11 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 12 Peter Velits (Svk) Team Milram 13 Gregory Rast (Swi) Astana 14 Pablo Lastras Garcia (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 15 Mickaël Chérel (Fra) Française des Jeux 16 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 17 Murilo Fischer (Bra) Liquigas 18 Roman Kireyev (Kaz) Astana 19 Michael Barry (Can) Team Columbia 20 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 21 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank 22 Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Française des Jeux 23 Olivier Kaisen (Bel) Silence - Lotto 24 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Scott - American Beef 25 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Quick Step 26 Julien Mazet (Fra) Astana 27 Wim Van Huffel (Bel) Silence - Lotto 28 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Crédit Agricole 29 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole 30 David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Scott - American Beef 31 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 32 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 33 Sébastien Hinault (Fra) Crédit Agricole 34 Anthony Roux (Fra) Française des Jeux 35 Andrea Noè (Ita) Liquigas 36 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre 37 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 38 Cédric Coutouly (Fra) Agritubel 39 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 40 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Agritubel 41 Mathieu Perget (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 0.20 42 Anthony Charteau (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne 43 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Française des Jeux 0.39 44 Alessandro Proni (Ita) Quick Step 1.04 45 Sergey Yakovlev (Kaz) Astana 4.20 46 Janek Tombak (Est) Mitsubishi-Jartazi 47 William Bonnet (Fra) Crédit Agricole 48 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas 49 Lasse Bøchman (Den) Team CSC - Saxo Bank 50 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 51 Bart Dockx (Bel) Silence - Lotto 52 Dominique Cornu (Bel) Silence - Lotto 53 Renaud Dion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 54 Pedro Horrillo Munoz (Spa) Rabobank 55 Iker Camaño Ortuzar (Spa) Scott - American Beef 56 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Quick Step 57 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 58 Michael Schär (Swi) Astana 59 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 60 Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 61 David Cañada (Spa) Scott - American Beef 62 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 63 Angel Gomez (Spa) Scott - American Beef 64 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 65 Jean-Marc Marino (Fra) Crédit Agricole 66 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française des Jeux 67 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne 68 Dmitry Kozontchuk (Rus) Rabobank 69 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC - Saxo Bank 70 Juan José Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 6.10 71 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 7.52 72 Alessandro Vanotti (Ita) Liquigas 73 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas 74 Maryan Hary (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 75 Christophe Le Mével (Fra) Crédit Agricole 76 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Rabobank 77 Peter Wrolich (Aut) Gerolsteiner 9.09 78 Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Team Milram 79 Alexandr Pliuschin (Mda) AG2R La Mondiale 80 Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Gerolsteiner 81 Yon Bru Pascal (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 82 Iñaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 83 Jorge Azanza Soto (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 84 Kevin De Weert (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 85 Roy Sentjens (Bel) Silence - Lotto 86 Xavier Florencio Cabre (Spa) Bouygues Telecom
Individual ranking 1 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 123 pts 2 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre 104 3 Andreas Klöden (Ger) Astana 96 4 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Liquigas 94 5 Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence - Lotto 85 6 André Greipel (Ger) Team Columbia 62 7 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) Lampre 60 8 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 60 9 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 60 10 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Astana 58 11 Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 55 12 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Quick Step 50 13 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 48 14 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Rabobank 47 15 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 45 16 Kim Kirchen (Lux) Team Columbia 42 17 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 41 18 Denis Menchov (Rus) Rabobank 41 19 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 40 20 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Caisse d'Epargne 40 21 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 38 22 Rémi Pauriol (Fra) Crédit Agricole 36 23 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Rabobank 35 24 Marco Pinotti (Ita) Team Columbia 35 25 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 32 26 Alexandr Kolobnev (Rus) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 30 27 Aurélien Clerc (Swi) Bouygues Telecom 30 28 Josep Jufre Pou (Spa) Scott - American Beef 30 29 Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank 30 30 Mickael Delage (Fra) Française des Jeux 30 31 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Team Columbia 30 32 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 30 33 George Hincapie (USA) Team Columbia 30 34 Sandy Casar (Fra) Française des Jeux 30 35 Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 26 36 David Lopez Garcia 25 37 Wouter Weylandt (Bel) Quick Step 25 38 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Astana 25 39 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 25 40 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step 23 41 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Milram 22 42 Alberto Benitez Roman (Spa) Scott - American Beef 21 43 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Liquigas 20 44 Andy Schleck (Lux) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 20 45 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) Silence - Lotto 17 46 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana 17 47 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 15 48 Kjell Carlström (Fin) Liquigas 15 49 Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Quick Step 15 50 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 15 51 Markus Fothen (Ger) Gerolsteiner 13 52 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 12 53 Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 12 54 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 12 55 Arnaud Gérard (Fra) Française des Jeux 11 56 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Lampre 10 57 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Silence - Lotto 10 58 Sergei Ivanov (Rus) Astana 9 59 Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana 9 60 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 7 61 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 7 62 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Crédit Agricole 7 63 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Liquigas 7 64 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 6 65 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 5 66 Joaquin Rodriguez Oliver 5 67 Christian Knees (Ger) Team Milram 5 68 Simon Spilak (Slo) Lampre 5 69 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 5 70 Iouri Trofimov (Rus) Bouygues Telecom 4 71 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 4 72 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 3 73 Heinrich Haussler (Ger) Gerolsteiner 3 74 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 3 75 Michael Albasini (Swi) Liquigas 3 76 Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 3 77 Chris Anker Sørensen (Den) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 3 78 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Columbia 3 79 Francesco De Bonis (Ita) Gerolsteiner 3 80 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Team Columbia 3 81 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Liquigas 3 82 Gorka Verdugo Markotegi (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 2 83 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Quick Step 2 84 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Rabobank 2 85 José Angel Gomez Marchante (Spa) Scott - American Beef 2 86 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole 2 87 Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Quick Step 2 88 Morris Possoni (Ita) Team Columbia 2 89 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux 2 90 Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale 2 91 José Rujano Guillen (Ven) Caisse d'Epargne 2 92 Robert Förster (Ger) Gerolsteiner 2 93 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) Team Columbia 2 94 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Crédit Agricole 2 95 Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Française des Jeux 2 96 Manuele Mori (Ita) Scott - American Beef 1 97 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 1 98 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 1 99 Roger Hammond (GBr) Team Columbia 1 100 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1 101 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1 102 Manuel Beltran Martinez (Spa) Liquigas 1 103 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis - Le Crédit par Téléphone 1 104 Sebastian Lang (Ger) Gerolsteiner 1 105 Stef Clement (Ned) Bouygues Telecom 1 106 Björn Schröder (Ger) Team Milram 1 107 Matti Breschel (Den) Team CSC-Saxo Bank 1 108 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 1 Teams ranking 1 Caisse d'Epargne 167 pts 2 Astana 161 3 CSC-Saxo Bank 126 4 Silence-Lotto 125 5 Scott - American Beef 124 6 Euskaltel - Euskadi 122 7 Française Des Jeux 121 8 Liquigas 119 9 Rabobank 115 10 Team Columbia 111 11 Gerolsteiner 108 12 Credit Agricole 107 13 AG2R La Mondiale 104 14 Quick Step 104 15 Bouygues Telecom 94 16 Cofidis, le Credit Par Telephone 80 17 Lampre 63 18 Team Milram 54 Nation ranking 1 Spain 349 pts 2 Italy 267 3 Germany 198 4 France 177 5 Belgium 162 6 Australia 113 7 Czech Republic 94 8 Luxembourg 94 9 Russian Federation 86 10 United States Of America 71 11 Switzerland 46 12 Colombia 43 13 Netherlands 36 14 Sweden 30 15 Norway 27 16 Slovenia 22 17 Finland 15 18 Poland 10 19 Kazakhstan 9 20 Denmark 4 21 Great Britain 4 22 Austria 3 23 Venezuela 2