photo credit @ Cofidis
Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) claimed the 4th and final stage of this year’s Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire, after winning the sprint finish ahead of Aleksei Tsatevich (Katusha) and Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale).
Meanwhile, Ramunas Navardauskas (Cannondale-Garmin) finished safely in the bunch, to clinch the overall race victory.
As a result, Navardauskas became only the 4th rider in the race’s history, to win back-to-back victories, joining Bernard Hinault (1975-76), Jean-François Bernard (1992-93) and Melchior Mauri (1997-98).
“To repeat any win two years in a row is huge, plus the way I won it today, it’s impressive,” commented Navardauskas. “I’m happy with myself, I hope the team is happy with how we rode since we took the command of the peloton with Cofidis on day 1 and kept working hard until we got the overall victory we wanted.”
It was the two intermediate sprints, that gave the Lithuanian rider the six seconds he needed to bring the curtain down on Manuele Boaro hopes.
“My chain dropped three times,” the Boaro said. “It happened precisely when I was contesting the third intermediate sprint.”
As result, he was unable to capitalize on the momentum that his lead out man, Michael Kolar, had created for him.
With 17 kilometers remaining, Navardauskas, along with Katusha’s Tiago Machado, managed to break clear of the peloton, later making their way to the leaders.
In the meantime, a mechanical problem forced Boaro back into the peloton.
Bouhanni easily won the final sprint, while Navardauskas finish in 7th place with enough of a buffer to secure the overall title.
“With two stage wins, it’s been a good Circuit de la Sarthe for me,” said the Frenchman who got fined 100CHF for riding with a Cofidis tracksuit rather than the distinctive green jersey of leader of the points classification. “I hadn’t won until this week, my early part of the season hasn’t been an easy one but I knew the form was there. Only the win was missing. It’s been difficult today because of the heat and the fast pace of the race. I’ll ride the GP of Denain next week and I’ll take a break after that.”
“I don’t think that I’m a sprinter,” echoed Navardauskas. “I wouldn’t have been able to sprint against Bouhanni and those guys. It’s all due to the work of my team. With strong guys like Alex Howes and Nathan Haas in front of me, I couldn’t lose. Even being the youngest team in the World Tour, we’ve showed that we can fight and compete with big teams like [Tinkoff-]Saxo and Movistar. When Machado attacked, I had to go with him, then why not trying to stay away? We were two strong boys. At least we tried but I wasn’t worried that a counter attack could take place.”
photo credit @ Cannondale – Garmin
Top 20 Finishers
1 Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 4:11:56
2 Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha
3 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
4 Tony Hurel (Fra) Team Europcar
5 Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia
6 Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
7 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
8 Raymond Kreder (Ned) Team Roompot
9 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
10 Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha
11 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
12 Russell Downing (GBr) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
13 Enrique Sanz (Spa) Movistar Team
14 Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team
15 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement
16 Thomas Sprengers (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
17 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr
18 Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling
19 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team
20 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
Final general classification
1 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 15:47:13
2 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:01
3 Adriano Malori (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:04
4 Tiago Machado (Por) Team Katusha 0:00:07
5 Nathan Haas (Aus) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:09
6 Stephen Cummings (GBr) MTN – Qhubeka 0:00:12
7 Jan Bakelants (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:20
8 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:21
9 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:00:24
10 Aleksei Tsatevich (Rus) Team Katusha 0:00:26
11 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:27
12 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:00:28
13 Sven Erik Bystrøm (Nor) Team Katusha 0:00:32
14 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement 0:00:36
15 Rasmus Guldhammer (Den) Cult Energy Pro Cycling 0:00:42
16 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar 0:00:43
17 Simone Stortoni (Ita) Androni Giocattoli
18 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:47
19 Leonardo Duque (Col) Colombia 0:00:48
20 Laurent Pichon (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:49
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