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23rd GP de la Ville de Rennes - 1.3
France, April 7, 2002
O'Bee and Davidenko score for Navigators
American team Navigators scored their first major win on European soil with a victory in the Grand Prix Rennes, round 6 of the Coupe de France. American criterium champion Kirk O'Bee won the race from his teammate Vasiliy Davidenko, with Alberto Ongarato (De Nardi) taking third, followed by two more Navigators riders (Power and Grishkine).
The race finished in slippery, wet conditions, which saw a spectacular fall by Belgian champion Ludovic Capelle, who also took out a press photographer. The Navigators navigated their way through the chaos to finish five riders in the top 10, by far their best ever result in a European race.
The race consisted of a 158 kilometre loop with several short steep climbs punctuating, followed by five laps of a 6.3 kilometre finishing circuit. After a week of mild spring weather, the conditions had changed and there were overcast skies and strong winds to make life difficult for the riders.
The day's first action came on the climb to Guichen at 45 km. An earlier escape by AG2R's Arturas Kasputis and Jean Delatour's Eddy Seigneur was creating anxiety in the group, and a strong push over the top split 30+ riders clear, as the remaining field looked at each other and the gap widened. When it got to a minute, the Navigators team went to the front and split the peloton, getting 18 riders clear. They forced the pace until catching the front group, and it appeared that the race would be a 50 rider contest, but remarkably the front group sat up, and the field rejoined.
The pace remained high until the second approach to the Guichen climb, this time coming from the opposite direction. An attack halfway up stretched the field, and Kirk O'Bee (Navigators) went free with La Francaise des Juex rider Nicolas Fritsch at 140 km. The duo was soon to be re-absorbed, and with 40 km remaining, it was looking like a certain field sprint.
But nothing is for certain in the professional peloton, and an attack by Kasputis was followed by O'Bee, and the pair began to put some distance on the confident field. On the final assent into Rennes, Cofidis sent Mederic Clain across and Saint-Quentin Oktos marked with Frederic Gabriel. The four got together as they approached the finishing circuits, and the gap was at 50 seconds.
Sensing danger, the Italian De Nardi team took the front and began an all out chase. The Navigator's squad organized behind, and over the next three laps, the gap slowly came down to 15 seconds. With 2 1/2 laps to go, the Italians had blown, and FDJ took over with hopes for their sprinter Jimmy Casper.
On the short rise after the finish line, with two to go, O'Bee attacked and only Clain could respond. The gap was coming down fast, and on the back stretch O'Bee attacked again, this time Clain could not respond, and O'Bee was alone, but with only a 5 second advantage.
The Navigator team was well positioned behind the FDJ chase, and was hoping O'Bee could hold until the last lap, setting up the lead-out. O'Bee dug in and pushed towards the finish line in anticipation of the bell. With the gap down to 100 meters, the US Criterium champion sprinted up the main stretch, through the start finish line, and increased his margin to 8 seconds. FDJ was losing steam, and the Navigator train was on the front, trying to maintain control of the field.
At the 1 km banner O'Bee was at 8 seconds, and the 'blue train' wound things up. Kirk held on by 20 meters as Vassili Davidenko won the field sprint for second with De Nardi's Ongarato in 3rd. Ciaran Power and Oleg Grichkine finished 4th and 5th, with Glen Mitchell in 10th. It was a great celebration on the podium with the American team's US Champion and Russian sprinting star sharing the podium to the delight of the thousands of French cycling enthusiasts.
1 Kirk O'Bee (USA) Navigators Cycling Team 4.23.10 2 Vassili Davidenko (Rus) Navigators Cycling Team 3 Alberto Ongarato (Ita) De Nardi-Pasta Montegrappa 4 Ciaran Power (Irl) Navigators Cycling Team 5 Oleg Grishkine (Rus) Navigators Cycling Team 6 Nicolas Inaudi (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 7 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) Team fakta 8 Ludovic Capelle (Bel) Ag2r-Prevoyance 9 Olivier Perraudeau (Fra) Bonjour 10 Glen Mitchell (NZl) Navigators Cycling Team 11 Jimmy Casper (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 12 Dariusz Skoczylas (Pol) CCC 13 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Big Mat-Auber 93 14 Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 15 Mickael Pichon (Fra) Bonjour 16 Christophe Capelle (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 17 Stéphane Heulot (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 18 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Jean-Delatour 19 Jens Voigt (Ger) Credit Agricole 20 Martin Garrido Mayorga (Arg) Relax-Fuenlabrada 21 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Bonjour 22 Tom Leaper (Aus) Navigators Cycling Team 23 German Nieto Fernandez (Spa) Relax-Fuenlabrada 24 Lénaïc Olivier (Fra) Jean-Delatour 25 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Jean-Delatour 26 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bonjour 27 Kevin Van Impe (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 28 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 29 Carlos Da Cruz (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 30 Bruno Thibout (Fra) Jean-Delatour 31 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Credit Agricole 32 Simone Cadamuro (Ita) De Nardi-Pasta Montegrappa 33 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 34 Christophe Rinero (Fra) Saint-Quentin Oktos 35 Marcus Ljungqvist (Swe) Team fakta 36 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Credit Agricole 37 Stéphane Berges (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 38 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 39 Damien Nazon (Fra) Bonjour 40 Sandy Casar (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 41 Frédéric Finot (Fra) Jean-Delatour 42 Thierry Gouvenou (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 43 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Credit Agricole 44 Stéphane Barthe (Fra) Saint-Quentin Oktos 45 Massimiliano Lelli (Ita) Cofidis 46 Frédéric Gabriel (Fra) Saint-Quentin Oktos 47 Christophe Laurent (Fra) Jean-Delatour 48 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Bonjour 49 Guillaume Auger (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 50 Vincent Templier (Fra) Saint-Quentin Oktos 51 Iban Herrero Atienzar (Spa) Relax-Fuenlabrada 52 Tom Stremersch (Bel) Lotto-Adecco 53 Xavier Jan (Fra) Big Mat-Auber 93 54 René Joergensen (Den) Team fakta 55 Brad McGee (Aus) La Francaise des Jeux 56 Robert Hayles (GBr) Cofidis 57 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance 58 Alberto Elli (Ita) Index-Alexia 59 Serguei Outschakov (Ukr) CCC 60 Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.16 61 Fabrice Salanson (Fra) Bonjour 62 Laurent Paumier (Fra) Saint-Quentin Oktos 63 Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra) Cofidis 64 Dmitri Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis 65 Gilles Bouvard (Fra) Jean-Delatour 66 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 0.20 67 Cédric Loue (Fra) Cofidis 68 Gianluca Valoti (Ita) Index-Alexia 69 Sergey Krushevskiy (Uzb) Saint-Quentin Oktos 70 Christopher Baldwin (USA) Navigators Cycling Team 71 Médéric Clain (Fra) Cofidis 72 Rossano Brasi (Ita) De Nardi-Pasta Montegrappa 0.57 73 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) La Francaise des Jeux 74 Ludovic Martin (Fra) Credit Agricole 3.02 75 Allan Johansen (Den) Team fakta 76 Alessandro Guerra (Ita) Index-Alexia 3.33 77 Laurent Estadieu (Fra) Ag2r-Prevoyance Coupe de France standings after round 6 1 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Française des Jeux 68 pts 2 Laurent Jalabert (Fra) CSC-Tiscali 50 2 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2r-Prevoyance 50 4 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour 47 5 Franck Bouyer (Fra) Bonjour 43 Courtesy of velomania.net
2001 Davide Casarotto (Ita) Alessio 195.0 km in 4.28.22 2000 Gordon Fraser (Can) Mercury Cycling Team 183.4 km in 4.09.24 1999 Max Van Heeswijk (Ned) Mapei-Quick Step 193.5 km in 4.15.17 1998 Pascal Chanteur (Fra) Casino 193.5 km in 4.35.10 1997 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Cofidis 197.5 km in 4.24.08 1997 (2) Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) 1996 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) 1995 Peter DeClerc (Bel) 1994 Gilles Delion (Fra) 1993 Eddy Seigneur (Fra) 1992 Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) 1991 Kim Andersen (DK) 1990 Edwin Bafcob (Bel) 1989 JanBogaert (Bel) 1988 Ronan Pensec (Fra) 1987 Jean-Francois Bernard (Fra) 1986 Eric Boyer(Fra) 1985 Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle (Fra) 1984 Bruno Wojtinek (Fra) 1983 Domenique Arnaud (Fra) 1982 Jean-Francois Rault (Fra) Past winners by Mario Stiehl, www.world-of-cycling.com