Having shown good condition in the Worlds road race, Matti Breschel went into Paris-Tours as one of the favourites. However, a late crash proved to be costly for the Dane who had to settle for 14th.
The time had come to launch the final race on European soil and the 237 kilometer long French one-day race Paris-Tours created the perfect autumn surroundings for the event. Thomas Voeckler and Jelle Wallays made it to the finish line ahead of a chasing bunch and Wallays outsmarted the experienced Frenchman and took the win. Unfortunately, the Tinkoff-Saxo riders were struck by crashes.
While an early breakaway containing seven riders was established, the Tinkoff-Saxo riders gathered around Matti Breschel and Michael Mørkøv to keep them crisp and ready for the finale. The relatively flat course has historically been a treat for the sprinters.
Entering the final 30 kilometers of the race, Tinkoff-Saxo took part of the chasing in the pack and the first of three climbs took its toll on the peloton while the breakaway also started to fall apart. A front trio hit the second climb but only two remained in the front on top of the climb as Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) picked up the pace with Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen) on his tail.
However, Giant-Shimano were eager to close the gap and they ripped the pack to pieces but cresting the final climb with 6 kilometers to go, the gap was still 30 seconds. The front duo eventually maintained the gap and on the finish line, Wallays stayed behind a very verbal and gesticulating Voeckler who finally opened the sprint. But in the final meters, Wallays went past the experienced Frenchman to take the win.
Unfortunately, the Tinkoff-Saxo riders were struck by a number of crashes and Matti Breschel finished 14th.
“Our strategy was to support Matti through the long race in order to set him up for the event of a bunch sprint and the boys did a solid piece of work around him. Unfortunately, he hit the deck in one of the many crashes in the finale and even though he was fairly unscathed and brought back up to the first chase group, the crash and the chase combined took the top speed out of him. That’s what happens and we can finish the European calendar with our heads held high,” says DS Tristan Hofmann.
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