The inaugural Grand Prix cycliste de Saguenay concluded yesterday, after four days of racing that took place in the districts of La Baie and Chicoutimi in Saguenay, Canada.
The race was decided by one second in the general classification, with Jure Kocjan (Team SmartStop) winning the stage and taking the time bonus points, that ultimately put him on top of the overall race standings by just one second.
Today’s 149 kilometer race, was the final stage in this year’s Grand Prix, with Eric Young (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) as the holder of the yellow jersey from the first stage onwards, while being closely chased by Canadian Pierrick Naud (Garneau-Quebecor) and Kocjan – who remained only a few seconds back in the general classification throughout the race.
From the outset, today’s stage began with a very fast pace, with many teams putting pressure on the yellow jersey.
A small breakaway group of three riders quickly got underway in the stage, while the peloton maintained a watchful eye. Indeed, by the 7th of the 14 lap circuit, the peloton managed to reel the escapees in.
Another breakaway group led by Vitaliy Popkov (Team ISD Continental), subsequently got under way. And, from there, the group succeeded in building up a gap of a 3:30 over the peloton.
However, despite Popkov’s valiant effort at the front for more than 50 kilometers, a flat tire ended his chances, as the field once again came back together.
A crash in the final 2 laps, later gave way to a 9-man breakaway group, that quickly gained a 30 second advantage over the chase. However, just as the breakaway riders before them, they too were reeled back in during the final lap.
During the final climb of the last lap, the peloton splintered in two groups, with Naud and Kocjan in the front group, with the yellow jersey group of Young following behind.
From there, the lead group proceeded to establish a 40 second gap over the pursuit, with the race coming down to a sprint finish battle between Kocjan and Naud.
However, it was the young Danish Asjborn Kragh Andersen (Christina Watches-Kuma), that Kocjan ending up edging out to win the stage, along with the 10 second points that were up for grabs.
This in turn gave enough in time bonuses for Kocjan to secure the overall title in this year’s Grand Prix Cycliste de Saguenay.
The yellow jersey was won by Kocjan, finishing the 560 kilometer race by just one second over Naud in the general classification. In addition, his performance in today’s stage also netted him the green sprinter’s – by just one point over Naud as well.
The Italian rider Luca Benedetti (Amore & Vita-Selle SMD) easily won the polka dot jersey as winner of the King of the Mountain classification. Benedetti scored big on the second two stages, and finished the Grand Prix cycliste with 28 points – 13 more than his closest rival and teammate Michael Woods.
Meanwhile, Andersen was awarded the white "best young rider" (U23) jersey in the general classification. He finished fourth in the general classification thanks to his second place in yesterday’s stage.
Top 10 Stage 4
1 Jure Kocjan (Slo) SmartStop 3:42:38 2 Asbjorn Kragh Andersen (Den) Christina Watches 3 Pierrick Naud (Can) Garneau-Québecor 4 Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) JellyBelly p/b Maxxis 5 Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling Team 6 Jacob Rathe (USA) JellyBelly p/b Maxxis 7 Leonardo Pinizzotto (Ita) Amore & Vita 8 Charles Planet (Fra) Novo Nordisk 9 Chad Beyer (USA) 5 hour Energy p/b Kenda 10 William Routley (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
Final General Classification
1 Jure Kocjan (Slo) SmartStop 13:10:02 2 Pierrick Naud (Can) Garneau-Québecor at 0:01 3 Luis Romero Amaran (Cub) Jamis Hagens Berman 0:13 4 Asbjorn Kragh Andersen (Den) Christina Watches 0:14 5 Ian Crane (USA) Jamis Hagens Berman 0:15 6 Éric Marcotte (USA) SmartStop 0:16 7 Aurélien Passeron (Fra) Silber Pro Cycling Team 8 Ryan Roth (Can) Silber Pro Cycling Team both s.t. 9 Brecht Dhaene (Bel) Astellas Cycling 0:17 10 Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) JellyBelly p/b Maxxis s.t. 11 Talor Shelden (USA) 5 hour Energy p/b Kenda 0:18 12 Jacob Rathe (USA) JellyBelly p/b Maxxis 13 Bruno Langlois (Can) 5 hour Energy p/b Kenda both s.t. 14 Anatoliy Pakhtusov (Ukr) ISD Continental 0:19 15 Leonardo Pinizzotto (Ita) Amore & Vita 0:20 16 Léandre Bouchard (Can) Transport Lacombe 17 Viesturs Luksevics (Lat) Amore & Vita 18 Edson Calderon (Col) 4-72 Colombia 19 Timothy Rugg (USA) Ride with Rendall p/b Biemme 20 Charles Planet (Fra) Novo Nordisk
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