FDJ’s Nacer Bouhanni won this year’s GP de Denain today, in a bunch sprint ahead of Matteo Pelucchi (IAM Cycling) and Francesco Chicchi (Neri Sottoli).
Team Europcar led the peloton into the final kilometer, however, when Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) pulled off the front of the peloton – the field became disorganized. From there, FDJ was quick to capitalize on the situation by making their way to the right hand side of the road and moving quickly towards the front of the race.
Once at the front, Bouhanni proceeded to open up his sprint, subsequently holding off the other sprinters to the finish. Behind him, Pelucchi showed impressive speed as he tried to close the gap. But, Bouhanni had timed his sprint to perfection, thus leaving Pelucchi little distance to catch him.
Featuring 197.3 kilometers of mostly flat terrain, today’s race was expected to finish with a sprint final.
While FDJ spent much of the day riding securely in the peloton, Europcar and Cofidis spent most of the race working to control the break. Europcar was especially prominent in the closing kilometers, as their Japanese Champion, Yukiya Arashiro, did an exemplary job at the front of the lead group – keeping the pace high as they drove towards the finish.
When Arashiro pulled off, there were still three Europcar riders at the front, with their young sprinter Bryan Coquard nicely positioned in 3rd spot behind the experienced Engoulvent.
However, as other teams ushered their way forward, Coquard lost his position, and from that point on things went badly for Europcar, as Coquard seemed to jump from rider to rider trying in vain to find the right wheel to follow – before fading to finish 16th.
Today’s race was animated with an early break, but halfway through the race the winds started to pick up and the Cofidis team hit the front hard, trying to use those winds to break up the peloton.
Unfortunately for Cofidis, their efforts failed to bring their sprinter Clement Venturini to the front to contest the finale. And, the best French rider could manage was 12th place.
Today’s victory marked the fifth win of the season for Bouhanni.
Top 25 Finishers
1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ.fr 4:36:38 2 Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) IAM Cycling 3 Francesco Chicchi (Ita) Neri Sottoli 4 Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Androni Giocattoli 5 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) AG2R La Mondiale 6 Yannis Yssaad (Fra) BigMat – Auber 93 7 Edwin Alcibiades Avila Vanegas (Col) Colombia 8 Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille 9 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise 10 Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) MTN – Qhubeka 11 Rudy Barbier (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole 12 Clément Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 13 Robin Stenuit (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 14 Kenny De Haes (Bel) Lotto Belisol 15 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne – Seche Environnement 16 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar 17 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole 18 Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille 19 Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 20 Antoine Demoitie (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles21 Frederique Robert (Bel) Wanty – Groupe Gobert 22 Giorgio Brambila (Ita) Veranclassic – Doltcini 23 Florent Mottet (Bel) Wallonie – Bruxelles 24 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole 25 Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne – Seche Environnement
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