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cj2002

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For as long as I've been alive, bicycle racers have used the last few days of August to have a blast around the beautiful western chunk of France - known for it's historic towns, expensive toiletries and hectare after hectare of Cognac vineyards. Originally founded as the Tour du Poitou-Charentes et de la Vienne as a race for amateurs, since 1991 it has been open to professional teams and since 2005 has taken a 2.1 rating on the UCI calendar.

Previously a stronghold of the French riders and teams (Jens Voigt, riding for Credit Agricole, and Sylvain Chavanel have two wins apiece among 8 consecutive years where a French rider or team was victorious), in recent years the strength of the field has improved, and the wins have gone elsewhere. Gustav Larsson, riding for Saxo Bank, took the win in 2009. Jimmy Engoulvent made a last stand for the French in 2010 but the trophy has gone Down Under for the past two seasons - Jesse Sergeant of New Zealand pipped British ITT Champion Alex Dowsett by 18 seconds in 2011, while Luke Durbridge's winning margin over Jeremy Roy was even narrower - just 6 seconds kept the Paris-Nice stage winner off the top step of the podium.



This year's 5-stage loop covers 707km, including 15 categorised climbs, 10 sprint points and one 23km time trial. And unlike some races of a similar length, winning the Time Trial here doesn't make you a shoe-in for the overall... Admittedly Larsson, Sergeant and Durbridge all took wins against the clock, but Bradley Wiggins and Sylvain Chavanel are among those who couldn't.

Stage 1 is a tough opening day for the peloton, with 198km ahead of them when they leave Saint Maxent l'Ecole. And the route slopes upwards almost immediately, with three categorised climbs - 700m at 7% each time - within the first 45 km. Expect an early break to gain a healthy advantage. Les Plassinauds (800m @ 7%) marks 75km to the finish at which point we should see the pace step up. They will cross the finish line in Saintes once, at the 177km mark before entering a 21km loop which should be fast and furious as they head to the line.

The peloton return to Saintes for the start of Stage 2, an undulating 188km run through the vineyards of Cognac and Jarnac on the way to Angouleme. 5 climbs and 3 sprints mean there are plenty of prizes on offer throughout the day. But for those eyeing the overall prize, the 300m, 12% Rue de la Fontaine Trouvée at 26km to go may provide an opportunity to attack and force a time gap.

Charroux and Civray are the focus for Stages 3 and 4 - the former a 109km loop around the two towns, and latter a 23km time trial which is slightly more direct. A slight rise in the road shouldn't present any sort of problem for the chrono-specialists, but don't expect them to put a huge gap into the rest of the field either.

The final, Stage 5 is an almost-arrow straight run from Ruelle sur Touvre, on the outskirts of Angouleme, to Poitiers. 194km including 4 climbs in the first 75km. A lull then, for about 90km, before the 11% ramp on the entry to Poitiers itself. And with 30km to go, you would be forgiven for thinking that it may not have that much of an impact. But with a further 2 laps of the circuit both including the climb, there might well be some tired legs by the time they reach the finish.

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  • He shook his head sadly and told me that endemic drug use had compelled him to give up a promising career. "Even one small local race, prize was a salami, and I see doping!" - Tim Moore: Gironimo (Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy)

    Arb

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    No profiles from Thomas @ Velowire yet but I'm guessing the final stage is the same as last year which was marginally selective.
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    1ère Etape - 27 Aout 2013: SAINT MAIXENT L'ECOLE (79) / SAINTES (17) 197.9 km




    2ème Etape - 28 Aout 2013: SAINTES (17) / ANGOULEME (16) 182 km




    3ème Etape - 29 Aout 2013: CHARROUX (86) / CIVRAY (86) 109.4 km




    4ème Etape - 29 Aout 2013: CHARROUX (86) / CIVRAY (86) 22.8 km - Contre la Montre Individuel




    5ème Etape - 30 Aout 2013: RUELLE SUR TOUVRE (16) / POITIERS (86) 193.6 km

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  • "If this is cycling, I am a banana"

    just some guy

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    Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

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    this is the climb arbs and cj mentioned

    Final of the last stage:



    looks like tracks4bikers isn't 100% accurate in that case, the roadbook says 500m at 11%
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  • cj2002

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    looks like tracks4bikers isn't 100% accurate in that case, the roadbook says 500m at 11%

    I was gonna say! I was expecting something a little bumpier than a flat line...

    But then everything seems flat when you compare it to a Vuelta profile.
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  • Zam

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    Stage 1 Result:

    1. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr)
    2. Benjamin Giraud (La Pomme Marseille) st
    3. Maxime Daniel (Sojasun) st
    4. Maxim Vantomme (Crelan Euphony) st
    5. Daniel Hoelegaard  (Etixx Ihned) st
    6. Rudy Barbier (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) st
    7. Davide Appollonio (AG2R La Mondiale) st
    8. Yauheni Hutarovich (AG2R La Mondiale) st
    9. Kevin Réza (Team Europcar) st
    10. Olivier Chevallier (Wallonie Bruxelles) st
    11. Omar Bertazzo (Androni - Giocattoli) st
    12. Eduard Vorganov (Katusha) st
    13. Mikhail Ignatyev (Katusha) st
    14. Gediminas Bagdonas (AG2R La Mondiale) st
    15. Josip Rumac (Etixx-Ihned) st
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  • « Last Edit: August 27, 2013, 17:15 by L'arriviste »

    cj2002

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    Nice one Zam - thanks.

    Thanks also to Search for the profiles/maps.

    Bouhanni's sprint finish is here:



    This morning's break formed early, with Dimitri Le Boulch #bigmat and Thomas Vaubourzeix #pomme escaping, before being joined by Sébastien Duret #bretagne. 75 minutes in and the trio had 11 minutes over the bunch - not a situation that Orica or Lampre were happy with. They took up the chase, and by the halfway mark the gap was down to around 5 minutes. That's where it stayed for a little while longer - by the time they reached Plassinauds with 75km to go, the gap was 2'20", and with 50km to the finish Le Boulch had been dropped by his compatriots. The peloton were playing with the remaining pair, and once Duret and Le Boulch had been mopped up, Marco Minnaard #rabobank attacked. His attack didn't stick, but Vaubourzeix wasn't caught due to any inactivity on the part of the peloton. He put in a massive effort - setting off the local Gendarme's speed trap at 55 km/h. When FDJ, IAM and Vini Fantini finally did get into gear with 7km, they had a minute to close on the solo leader. But close it they did... with 2km to go Vaubourzeix's game was up, and all that was left was for Bouhanni #fdj to light the afterburners and take the win on the line from Benjamin Giraud #pomme and Maxime Daniel #sojasun.

    Tweet of the Day

    https://twitter.com/vince1786/status/372337741952221184

    "Good luck to the technical teams at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes arrival zone. Orica-GreenEDGE have come with their BUS!!!"
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  • « Last Edit: August 28, 2013, 07:09 by just some guy »

    just some guy

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    thanks for the update cj

    I have added a video section for the race in the mutlimedia ,
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  • cj2002

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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 FDJ.fr 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 »

    esafosfina

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    Great little race this... rode the 1991 edition... held the green jersey for a couple of days... two second places, blah blah blah. Really good parcours and organisation. Glad to see it's still going strong.  :D
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    cj2002

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    I managed to get the dates wrong on this race - I hadn't spotted that today has two stages. The 110km loop has already started - Flavien Dassonville #bigmat is the sole attacker, with an advantage of 3 minutes after just 10km. The Time Trial takes place this afternoon. Results from both as I get them.

    EDIT - Flavien Dassonville, for those of you with an interest in the U23 world, is the reigning French champion. He is, however, unlikely to trouble the scorers in this afternoon's time trial...
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  • « Last Edit: August 29, 2013, 11:09 by cj2002 »

    cj2002

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    The one-man escape from French U23 champion Flavien Dassonville lasted for all but the last 13 km. At that point, it was Movistar, IAM and FDJ who took the reins, led by current elite French champion Arthur Vichot #fdj. And to finish it off, none other than former champion Nacer Bouhanni #white #fdj who took his third win in as many stages. Matteo Pelucchi #iam came across the line in second, ahead of Davide Appollonio #ag2r, Kevin Reza #europcar and Daniel Hoelgaard #etixx.

    Time trial later - expect Durbo to light the turbo and challenge Dowsett and others for the stage, and probably overall, win.
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  • just some guy

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    search

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    what the heck has happened here?

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  • cj2002

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    I've been trying to work it out. Surely this is a joke? Or is it time to put bets on Voeckler for World TT champion?
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  • LukasCPH

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    A very strange result.
    My best guess would be varying conditions (wind/rain), but I have as little of an idea as anyone.

    Great to see Eduardo Sepúlveda that high up though. :)
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    just some guy

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    Tis a very strange result

    Durbo maybe way off form but ETTV for WC TTT , ITT and RR - madness
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  • cj2002

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    For the second year in a row, the Tour du Poitou-Charentes charged towards its finale in Poitiers headed by the Spanish national champion. 12 months after Francisco Ventoso won the final stage, his compatriot and teammate Jesus Herrada repeated the feat and secured 2nd place overall.

    Herrada was among 13 early escapees - Vichot #fdj #bouhanni, Belkov and Vorganov #katusha, Poux #sojasun, Schelling #iam, Pozzo #vinifantini, Fouchard #cofidis, Delpech #bretagne, David #crelan, Rostollan #pomme, Minnaard #rabobank and Kneisky (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) joined him. The Spaniard started the day 58" down on overnight leader, new Time Trial sensation Thomas Voeckler #white #europcar, so the group was never going to be given a huge amount of room for leeway. With 100km to go, Europcar were well in control of the peloton, and keeping the group no more than 2'30" ahead.

    3 ascents of the Côte de la Rue du Roitelet awaited the peloton as they came into Poitiers, with sections at 15%. [see http://www.strava.com/segments/1531071 for the Strava segment of the climb]. Herrada found himself doing the lion's share of the work as the gap tumbled to just 55" and the pace shed riders from the leading group. 8 remained in the lead as they crossed the line for the second time - with one lap and one ascent of Roitelet to come. With 8km to go, Herrada attacked: Vichot and Vorganov went with him and the trio built the gap up to a handful of seconds.  Herrada was the first to launch the sprint and held off Vichot on the line to claim his first victory since the nationals, and secure the young riders jersey to boot. Bouhanni led the peloton across the line, 16" behind the winner (keeping the points jersey), meaning that Thomas Voeckler kept the white jersey and joined Sylvain Chavanel and Jens Voigt as double-winners of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes.







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  • just some guy

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    Some video while Cj is hopefully writing up the stage reviews  :niceday



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