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Here's a fun fact for you: the last time Nacer Bouhanni won a race wearing a white jersey was June 24th last year, when he sprinted to victory in the French championship. He took to the stage today in the white leader's jersey of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, and his team were intent of defending his lead as long as possible.

We were expecting any of the sprinters to have to battle against attacks today, and the peloton delivered attacks in abundance. After an opening half-hour which averaged over 50 km/h, things settled down and a group of 6 broke clear. And they weren't short on quality: Dominique Rollin #fdj, Maxim Belkov #katusha, Tommy Voeckler #europcar, 2010 winner Jimmy Engoulvent #sojasun, Julien Duval (Roubaix-Lille Metropole) and Laurent Evrard (Wallonie-Bruxelles) made their escape stick. But with Rollin's teammate in the overall lead, he wasn't keen on helping out - but he did fancy helping himself to bonifcations at the intermediate split. Voeckler wasn't happy, and after remonstrating with the Canadian, the 2007 winner tried to shake his fellow attackers loose.

Soon enough they had all been mopped up, but Voeckler, Engoulvent and Duval made their way clear again, this time joined by Thomas Rostallon #pomme and Tom Dernies (Wallonie-Bruxelles). As they hit 60km gone at the top of the first categorised climb of the day, another group of riders started to bridge the gap. They had quickly distanced the main body of the peloton, and formed a 16-man lead group.

Chouchou - image of the day?

Despite most of the big teams being represented, they couldn't make the break stick and after another regroupement, it was left to Cyril Gautier #europcar, David Le Lay #sojasun, Stefan Denifl #iam, Eduardo Sepulveda #bretagne, Baptiste Planckaert #crelan, Gregoire Tarride #pomme and Loic Desriac (Roubaix) to get clear. They built a 2-minute advantage, but not before Movistar took control of the bunch. The Spaniards, joined by FDJ and Orica kept the 7 escapees on a short leash as they hit 50-km to go.

The Bouhanni Express builds up steam

Planckaert gave his Crelan jersey a farewell send-off as he won the final intermediate sprint of the day, but the peloton had them in their sights by then. The 300m, 12% climb with 26km to go allowed Tour du Finistere winner Gautier to jump ahead, accompanied by Denifl and Tarride. With just a handful of seconds between them and the oncoming blue Bouhanni Express they gave it everything, but in vain. A late attack by Jean-Lou Paiani #sojasun was mopped up 5km from the line, and once Delage had released him, Bouhanni was home and dry, winning by a length from Armindo Fonseca #bretagne


PS - the Tour du Poitou-Charentes is, of course, famous for having the most ridiculous number of classifications. Here are the current leaders:

Overall GC #white: Nacer Bouhanni #fdj
Best Young Rider #orange: Nacer Bouhanni (Armindo Fonseca #bretagne)
Points #vert: Nacer Bouhanni (Maxime Vantomme #crelan)
Climber #kom: Dimitri Le Boulch #bigmat
"Classement Inter-Departements"[1] #yellow: Sebastien Duret #bretagne
Team Classification: #ag2r
Combined Classification #red: Julien Duval (Roubaix)
Combativity Award  #combat: Cyril Gautier #europcar
Fair Play Award: Stefan Denifl #iam
"L'Image du jour": Tommy Voeckler #europcar, presumably for that beauty above!
Best Neo-Pro: Evaldus Siskeviciu #sojasun
 1. No, I don't know either.
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  • « Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 21:37 by cj2002 »
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