photo credit @ Facebook
Nacer Bouhanni claimed the opening stage of this year’s Circuit Cycliste Sarthe – Pays de la Loire today, after being delivered to victory by his team during the final kilometer of the stage.
With kilometer remaining, Cofidis succeeded in catching the the two remaining escapees from the day’s breakaway group, to deliver Bouhanni to his first win of the season.
A small breakaway group containing Carlos Ramirez (Colombia), Romain Lemarchand (Cult Energy) and Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), got underway early on in today’s race.
From there, a complacent peloton allowed the trio to build up a massive 11 and a half minute advantage over them.
Up front, Janse Van Rensburg succeeded in picking up the three of mountain sprints, while Lemarchand claimed the three intermediate sprints, as they headed into one of the six laps of finishing circuit in Varades.
As the race entered into the final 20 kilometers, the peloton had managed to chip away at the escapee’s advantage, which had been reduced to a much more manageable 2:35.
With just 3 kilometers to go, the peloton had succeeded at taking a huge bite out the the breakaway’s lead, which at that point had fallen to a mere 25 seconds.
As a result, Ramirez decided relinquish his role in the breakaway group, which subsequently allowed it to fall to just 8 seconds during the closing 2 kilometers.
From there, Van Rensburg and Lemarchand lost what little ground they had, while both of them were swept up by the peloton.
1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
2 Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
3 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot
4 Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha
5 Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar
6 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Europcar
7 Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
8 Carlos Mario Ramirez (Col) Colombia
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