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Kenny Dehaes won his second sprint in a big French stage race in the past week when he again sprinted early in Picardie. Bouhanni did a bad sprint but did more than enough to win the GC.

Photo: Kristof Ramon / Wanty-Groupe Gobert








15.05.2016 @ 16:50 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Kenny Dehaes won his second sprint in a big French stage race in the past week when he again sprinted early in the final stage of the Tour de Picardie. Sondre Holst Enger (IAM) and Kevin Reza (FDJ) jumped early with him but didn’t have enough to come round for the win. Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) did a very bad sprint but did more than enough to win the race overall.


The stage got off to a fast start with a big break of ten going clear. The move consisted of Jelle Wallays (Lotto-Soudal), Jerome Cousin (Cofidis), Mark McNally (Wanty - Groupe Gobert), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), Sebastien Minard (AG2R La Mondiale), Francois Bidard (AG2R La Mondiale), Nick van der Lijke (Roompot Oranje Peloton), Jean-Marc Bideau and Julien Loubet (Fortunéo - Vital Concept) and Julien Duval(Armée de Terre).  


Despite all of the big teams being represented, Cofidis didn’t like the composition of the break and brought them back. AG2R’s Quentin Jauregui countered as he sought to be the first over the top of the climb beating Kris Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) and Sebastien Delfosse (Wallonie Bruxelles) to the top of the climb, helping to ensure he won the Combination Jersey.


Shortly after the climb, the break of the day was established. It was comprised of Lotto-Soudal’s Frederik Frison, Topsport’s Jonas Rickaert, Pirmin Lang of IAM, Leo Duque of Delko-Marseille and Tom Devriendt of Wanty. Astana had taken over from Cofidis at the head of the bunch and the gap was 2:55 with around 120km to go.


At the first intermediate sprint, Devriendt beat Duque and Lang for the points with around 80km to go. Lang beat Rickaert and Frison to the top of the second climb. With just 65km to go, the gap was a steady 2:30 as Cofidis had come back to the front of the peloton. Devriendt beat Delfosse and Lang at the second intermediate sprint at 35km to go. As the break entered the finishing circuit, their gap was 1:25 with Cofidis still piling on the pressure in the peloton for race leader Nacer Bouhanni.


Cofidis were struggling to make inroads to the breaks gap, with 1:25 remaining the lead with just 20km to go. Realizing they had a chance to win the stage, the two WorldTour riders Lang and Frison attacked and distanced the break. Rickaert was chasing solo behind them, ten seconds away. They had 50 seconds on the peloton with just 15km to go. Lang beat Frison to the final KOM prize, with Rickaert coming across in third. This result confirmed that Jauregui would win the combination classification.


Cofidis were going really quick at the head of the bunch as they sought to let Bouhanni wrap up the GC with his third stage from three, the gap was just 15 seconds with 10km to go and this prompted Frison to attack and leave Lang behind. Frison was very strong, extending his gap to 25 seconds with 8km to go.


Frison was still leading inside the final 5km but it was all over just 3km from home and a sprint was guaranteed in Guise. In the sprint, Wanty’s Kenny Dehaes launched early like he did on the last day in Dunkirk, and just like on that day, Sondre Holst Enger (IAM) and Kevin Reza (FDJ) couldn’t come past him. Bouhanni did more than enough to conserve his GC lead and he won the race overall, his first career GC success since taking Circuit de Lorraine as a 21 year old in 2012.




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