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Frenchman the strongest of an 8-man breakaway and is now a dangerous man in the battle for the final overall victory

Photo: Crosnier-Lemaitre-Curutchet / KMSP

AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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MAXIME BOUET

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16.04.2013 @ 12:46 Posted by Adam Aisen

Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) emerged as the strongest from an 8-man escape in today's first half-stage of the Giro del Trentino. With the peloton losing more than 7 minutes to the strong Frenchman, he may now find himself in a position to take a hugely surprising overall win.

 

The opening half-stage of the Giro del Trentino which is the most important preparation race for the Giro d'Italia, was expected to be the only opportunity for the sprinters in an otherwise extremely mountainous event. However, the sprinters' teams were unable to bring back an early 8-man escape and the race was completely turned on its head in a stage that most expected to be rather uneventful.

 

Immediately after the start Maxime Bouet, Michael Rodriguez (Colombia), Josue Moyano (Caja Rural), Josef Cerny (CCC), Gang Xu (Champion System), Jacques Janse Van Rensburg (MTN-Qhubeka), Pavel Kochetkov (Rusvelo) and Nicola Dal Santo (Ceramica Flaminia) escaped the peloton and they were quickly allowed to open up a huge gap in the short 128,5km stage starting and finishing in the Austrian city of Lienz. The advantage reached as much as 8.50 on the short route before Vini Fantini and Androni Giocattoli started to chase. With Oscar Gatto and Fabio Felline in their ranks, the team had some of the few sprinters in their ranks.

 

However, the combined might of the two teams was not enough to bring back the down at all and with less than 30km remaining, the break still enjoyed their 8.50 lead. Despite the presence of climbers like Bouet, Rodriguez, Moyano and Van Rensburg, the teams of the race favourites chose not to contribute to the chase.

 

As the riders hit the day's only difficulty, the Inselberg climb, the break split up. Rodriguez managed to drop his companions and he crested the summit 17 seconds ahead of Bouet and 45 seconds ahead of Van Rensburg. On the downhill, some regrouping took place and a strong trio consisting of Bouet, Rodriguez and Cerny emerged in the front.

 

With the peloton still more than 7 minutes behind, it was clear that the stage winner would be one of those three riders and Cerny tried to steal the glory by putting in an attack. Relying on his fast finish, Bouet was, however, in no mood to let the Pole steal the glory and he brought it back for a final sprint. The Frenchman did not disappoint and he took a convincing victory ahead of Cerny and Rodriguez.

 

The peloton crossed the line no less than 6.57 later and the major favourites like Bradley Wiggins, Michele Scarponi and Vincenzo Nibali now face a difficult task of taking back all that time from the likes of Bouet, Rodriguez, Moyano and Van Rensburg. They get their first chance in the afternoon's short 11km team time trial but they may have thrown away all chance of overall victory in a seemingly innocuous opening half-stage.

 

Starting at 15.55, you can follow the team time trial on CyclingQuotes.com/live.

 

Result:

1° Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale)
2° Cerny (CCC Polsat) 2"
3° Rodriguez (Team Colombia) 4"
4° Dal Santo (Flaminia Fondriest) 45"
5° Moyano (Caja Rural) 
6° Kochetkov (Rusvelo)
7° Van Rensburg (MTN) 47"
8° Gang Xu (Champion System) 1'17"
9° Battaglin (Bardiani CSF) 6'57"
10° Duque (Team Colombia)
 

General classification

1° Bouet (Ag2r La Mondiale)
2° Cerny (CCC Polsat) 2"
3° Rodriguez (Team Colombia) 4"
4° Dal Santo (Flaminia Fondriest) 45"
5° Moyano (Caja Rural) 
6° Kochetkov (Rusvelo)
7° Van Rensburg (MTN) 47"
8° Gang Xu (Champion System) 1'17"
9° Battaglin (Bardiani CSF) 6'57"
10° Duque (Team Colombia)

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