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GP Ouest France-Plouay - 1.HC
France, August 24, 2003
Flicked by 'Flick'
By Jean-François Quénet in Plouay
In his fifth year as a professional, Frenchman Andy Flickinger, 25, riding for Ag2r, has claimed the second win of his career in the hors-category Grand Prix Ouest-France in Plouay, the first one being a stage of Paris-Corrèze last year. "This one is for sure the best win of my life," said a delighted Flickinger post race.
Flickinger is a true attacker. He often makes the breaks but he actually missed the first one that developed during the first lap in Plouay. 45 riders went away on the first hill but got caught and replaced by another 45 riders during the second lap, many of them being the same. "At the beginning of the race, I felt I had stiff legs and I hadn't recovered from the Tour du Limousin," Flickinger explained. "Then I went back up the front of the bunch and I was lucky to be there in the move."
Ag2r outnumbered the other teams with five men in the break: Flickinger, Mark Scanlon, Ludovic Turpin, Laurent Brochard and Stéphane Bergès, Fdjeux.com being the second best represented team in the front with beginner Jérémy Roy, former winner Christophe Mengin, Nicolas Vogondy and Frédéric Guesdon. Igor Astarloa (Saeco), Frank Vandenbroucke (Quickstep), Jakob Piil (CSC) and Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole) were also in this group.
Successively, Lotto-Domo, Gerolsteiner and Phonak tried to bring the bunch back. Quick.Step was close to making it with 5 laps to go. The gap to the escapees was only 35 seconds, but rather than finishing the job, they tried to create a counter-attack with Luca Paolini. Then the gap went up above one minute. With four laps to go (more than 50km), six men broke clear from the front group just as Vogondy had a flat tyre: Flickinger, Scanlon, Mengin, and also Joseba Albizu (Mercatone Uno), Nicolas Jalabert (CSC) and Anthony Geslin (La Boulangère). Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Fakta) and Patrice Halgand (Jean Delatour) went across to form a group of eight.
The defending champion Jeremy Hunt had already abandoned halfway through the race. He was sick and also a victim of the new climb, the côte du moulin which made the race harder and slower - about 2 km/h less than before.
In the last lap, Flickinger attacked and Jalabert joined him. Mengin went across with two kilometres to go, then Arvesen made an effort and the group of eight was back together for the sprint. "I kind of panicked when Albizu attacked," Flickinger said. "But I did well staying on Jalabert's wheel then I passed him on his left hand side and I won. For sure my experience in track racing helped me win here."
'Flick' is a past European Madison champion. It was his first time racing in Plouay but he got plenty of advice from his friend Jacky Durand, who was doing the Tour of Holland for Fdjeux.com, while Flickinger was in Limousin. "Half of my win is due to the sacrifice of Mark Scanlon," Flickinger added. "He's a future great rider for the classics and he did a fantastic job for me today."
This is a well deserved win for Ag2r who raced perfectly. "It's the 12th time I've brought a team here and the first time I've won," a delighted team director Vincent Lavenu said. The best result he had in Plouay was third with Lauri Aus in 1999. Now the good news means that the team can pay a tribute to the Estonian rider, who died in an accident in July while training in his country during the Tour de France.
Images by AFP Photo
Images by Jean-Francois Quenet
Images by Tony Collins
Results - 198 km
1 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Ag2r 4.34.22 (43.2 km/h) 2 Anthony Geslin (Fra) La Boulangère 3 Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) CSC 4 Christophe Mengin (Fra) Fdjeux.com 5 Kurt-Asle Arvesen (Nor) fakta 6 Mark Scanlon (Irl) Ag2r 7 Joseba Albizu (Spa) Mercatone Uno 0.03 8 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Jean Delatour 0.25 9 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) Cofidis 1.38 10 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole 1.48 11 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Saeco 12 Fabian Wegmann (Ger) Gerolsteiner 13 Médéric Clain (Fra) Cofidis 14 Ludovic Martin (Fra) Jean Delatour 15 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Fdjeux.com 16 Ludovic Auger (Fra) BigMat 17 Ruslan Gryshenko (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet 18 Andrei Mizourov (Kaz) Oktos 19 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Marlux 20 Roger Beuchat (Swi) Phonak 21 Angelo Lopeboselli (Ita) Cofidis 1.51 22 Nicolas Fritsch (Fra) Fdjeux.com 23 Maryan Hary (Fra) La Boulangère 2.03 24 Robert Forster (Ger) Geroslteiner 2.06 25 Franck Renier (Fra) La Boulangère 2.15 26 Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra) Marlux 27 Jakob Piil (Fra) CSC 2.36 28 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank 3.28 29 Martin Elmiger (Swi) Phonak 3.59 30 Alexei Sivakov (Rus) BigMat 31 Nick Nuyens (Bel) Quickstep 32 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Ag2r 33 David Moncoutié (Fra) Cofidis 4.02 34 Jorgen Bo Petersen (Den) fakta 4.04 35 Geert Vanderaerden (Bel) Palmans-Collstrop 36 Volodimir Bileka (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet 37 Janek Tombak (Est) Cofidis 4.13 38 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) La Boulangère 39 Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) Fdjeux.com 40 Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Jean Delatour 41 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Ag2r 42 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) Jean Delatour 43 Florent Brard (Fra) Marlux 44 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2r 45 Walter Bénéteau (Fra) La Boulangère 46 Igor Astarloa (Fra) Saeco 47 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Fdjeux.com 5.11 48 Addy Engels (Ned) 49 Thorwald Veneberg (Ned) 50 Frank Vandenbroucke (Bel) Quickstep 6.01 51 Christophe Moreau (Fra) Crédit Agricole 52 Stéphane Bergès (Fra) Ag2r 53 Markus Zberg (Swi) Gerolsteiner 13.42 54 Stefan Kupfernagel (Ger) Phonak 55 Plamen Stoianov (Bul) BigMat 56 Franck Schleck (Lux) CSC 57 Tom Stremersch (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 58 Beat Zberg (Swi) Rabobank 59 Ivan Gavazzi (Ita) Saeco 60 Martin Derganc (Slo) Domina Vacanze 61 Philippe Gaumont (Fra) Cofidis 62 Sergei Adveyev (Ukr) Landbouwkrediet 63 Lennie Kristensen (Den) CSC 64 Mauricio Ardila (Col) Marlux 65 Davide Bramati (Ita) Quickstep 66 Lars Michaelsen (Den) CSC 67 Jens Voigt (Ger) Crédit Agricole 68 Antonio Bucciero (Ita) Saeco 69 Mario Scirea (Ita) Domina Vacanze 70 Santos Gonzalez (Spa) Domina Vacanze 71 Iker Camano (Spa) Phonak 72 Thomas Gronqvist (Swe) fakta 73 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Lotto-Domo 74 Michael Blaudzun (Den) CSC 75 Laurent Paumier (Fra) Oktos 76 Fredrik Modin (Swe) fakta 77 Domenico Passuello (Ita) Quickstep 78 Saulius Ruskys (Lit) Marlux 79 Franck Pencolé (Fra) Oktos 80 Christophe Stevens (Bel) Marlux 81 Guillaume Auger (Fra) BigMat 82 Lorenzo Cardellini (Ita) Domina Vacanze 83 Sergio Marinangeli (Ita) Domina Vacanze 84 Sébastien Talabardon (Fra) BigMat 85 Yoann Le Boulanger (Fra) Oktos 86 Matthew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank 87 Massimo Codol (Ita) Mercatone Uno 88 Andrei Kasheshkin (Kaz) Quickstep 89 Luca Solari (Ita) Mercatone Uno 90 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Marlux 91 Dimitri Konyshev (Rus) Marlux 92 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2r 93 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) BigMat 94 Mario Manzoni (Ita) Mercatone Uno 95 Nicolas Portal (Fra) Ag2r 96 Ruggero Borghi (Ita) Mercatone Uno 97 Mickael Pichon (Fra) Fdjeux.com 98 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Fdjeux.com 99 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) La Boulangère