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"This is the first victory of the season, it's always fun. I knew that the condition was good. I can not expect better after what I saw today on the climbs. It was not easy, but I think I have taken another step."

Photo: Sirotti

BRYAN COQUARD

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06.02.2015 @ 20:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bryan Coquard (Europcar) continued his love story with Etoile de Besseges when he won today’s third stage of the French stage race. After a dramatic finale that saw a 6-rider break being caught with less than 1km to go, the Frenchman held off Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek) and Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen), with the latter taking the overall lead by virtue of bonus seconds

 

Two years ago Bryan Coquard proved that he is more than a talented track rider when he won two stages at the Etoile de Besseges just weeks after he had turned professional. Last year he returned to the early-season race with success and added another two stages to his palmares.

 

This year Coquard aims to make it three in a row as he plans to use the French stage race as an important build-up for the World Championships on the track and after he had tested his legs in the recent Challenge Mallorca, he proved his excellent form when he won today’s third stage of the race in a bunch sprint.

 

"I had a good feeling," he told Directvelo. "I was not in trouble ion the different climbs of the day. The stage was very hard. The breakaway took 75 kilometers to form. 

 

"I'm not far down overall and I tried to imagine that I could find myself in a group of 10-15 riders. Pierre (Rolland) finally joined the breakaway of six riders. Behind, we just had to wait.

 

"Jérôme Cousin, Cyril Gautier and Jimmy Engoulvent maneuvered well in the final. Jerome stretched out the bunch under the flamme rouge.

The finish was a bit rough. I found a samll gap 200 meters from the line. Nizzolo gave me a swerve. It was hard but I managed to do it. I am very happy for the team and for myself too. 

 

"This is the first victory of the season, it's always fun. I knew that the condition was good. I can not expect better after what I saw today on the climbs. It was not easy, but I think I have taken another step. 

 

"Tomorrow, we have the finish on the wall in Laudun. I won there last year. We have Cyril Gautier for the general classification. We will try to place us well tomorrow. Sunday's time trial? I do not know what I can expect, but why not, after all, with the condition that I have."

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