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After his team had controlled the race all day, Dumoulin won the uphill sprint on the Cote de Cadoudal at the GP Plumelec; Vuillermoz made it a 1-2 for the French team while Vichot was the best of the rest in third

Photo: Sirotti










28.05.2016 @ 18:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) again proved that he is finally back at his best level after a difficult start to the year by taking his second consecutive win in the Coupe de France series at the GP Plumelec. In the iconic uphill sprint on the Cote de Cadoudal, he came out on top by holding off his teammate Alexis Vuillermoz who made it a 1-2 for Ag2r. Arthur Vichot (FDJ) was the best of the rest in third.


For years, Samuel Dumoulin has been one of the most consistent one-day races in France. The 2016 season is likely to be his final year as a professional and he is aiming to leave the peloton on a high.


However, nothing worked at the start of the year when the Frenchman suffered from illness and so he got to the month of April before he finally started to show some form. However, now he has definitely got the ball rolling and today he took his second win of the year when he claimed his second victory at the GP de Plumelec, one of the most prestigious races on the Coupe de France calendar.


Dumoulin got his first win in the previous race of the series when he came out on top by attacking late in La Roue Tourangelle on April 20. However, he has apparently maintained his form during the long break in the series as he made it two in a row today.


Ag2r had two cards to play as Dumoulin and defending champion Alexis Vuillermoz had both won the race in the past. Hence, they controlled the race all day and when it came down to the expected uphill sprint, they delivered their two aces to a fantastic 1-2.


The 40th edition was held as a circuit race over 182km around the city of Plumelec. The race could be split in three parts. First the riders tackled a relatively flat 52.2km circuit before they headed to the finish to go up the Cote de Cadoudal (1800m, 6.5%) for the first time. Then they did six laps of a 13.9km circuit that had a small climb at the midpoint before the riders descended to the bottom of the key climb that again led to the finish. The final part of the race was made up of six laps of a shorter 7.7km circuit that cut the smaller climb from the big circuit. In fact, the small circuit consisted of the descent from the Cote de Cadoudal and a very short flat section and the 1800m climb to the finish.


It was a sunny day when the riders gathered for the start and as it is always the case in Coupe de France races, it was a very fast opening phase. Jeremy Maison (FDJ), Rudy Barbier (Roubaix) and Cedric Raeymackers (Differdange) were the first to get a small advantage but Cofidis brought them back before sending Jerome Cousin off in a solo move.


Cousin managed to get a 10-second advantage but he was quickly brought back by the peloton which was splitting into several pieces. Meanwhile, Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Iltjan Nika (D’Amico), Gotzon Udondo (Euskadi) and David Gaudu (France) escaped but they were quickly brought back.


Aitor Gonzalez (Euskadi) first tried a failed solo move and then attacked with Nika. They were brought back too and the same happened for Nika and Gaudu who were the next to try.


Nika was extremely active and he was again part of the move when three riders surged clear. This time he had Nans Peters (France) and Pierre Gouault (Auber 93) for company and as the peloton slowed down, the trio quickly got an advantage of 45 seconds.


The gap went out to 2 minutes before the situation briefly stabilized. However, the gap had gone out to 3.35 at the end of the first hour when 43.4km had been covered.


As the break hit the climb for the first time, they were 5.40 ahead of the bunch which was led by Sebastien Turgot (Ag2r). The Frenchman worked solidly on the front to start to bring the break back and at the end of the first lap of the big circuit, he had reduced the gap to 4.35.


The break responded well and managed to push their advantage out to 5.20 at the end of the second lap and this prompted Ag2r to put Alexis Gougeard on the front. He rode a lot faster and at the next passage of the line, the gap was only 3.45.


As they hit the climb for the next time 3.25 behind the leaders, FDJ launched a double attack with Cedric Pineau and Maison. They quickly reduced their delay to 50 seconds while the peloton was just 2.25 behind when they hit the climb again.


The two FDJ riders made the junction at the 106km mark and started the penultimate lap of the big circuit with an advantage of 1.55. Meanwhile, the fast pace was taking its toll and Mikel Iturria (Euskadi) and Barbier became the first riders to abandon.


Franck Bonnamour (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Federico Borella (GM) were the next to try to bridge the gap but they didn’t make much inroad. At the bottom of the climb, they were 1.40 behind the leaders while the peloton was 2.35 adrift and still led by Ag2r.


At the end of the final lap of the circuit, the situation hadn’t changed much as the gaps were 1.45 and 2.45 respectively. Paul Sauvage (France) tried to join the two chasers but the three riders were all brought back as Ag2r upped the pace significantly.


Maison did a big job for Pineau and then dropped off from the break, leaving just four riders to press on with an advantage of 1.20. In the peloton, Gougeard and Pierre Latour were doing the damage for Ag2r.


Maison was brought back at the end of the first lap of the small circuit where the gap had been brought down to just 45 seconds as Cofidis had now joined forces with Ag2r. Rudy Molard was taking some massive turns for the French team and the break was almost brought back as they ended the second lap. Peters tried one final desperate attack but it all came back together.


Ag2r lined out five riders on the front before Fortuneo-Vital Concept took over with Brice Feillu and he set the pace for the next lap. As they crossed the line again, Kevin Reza 8FDJ) attacked and he opened a 10-second advantage before Latour, Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural), Molard, Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie), Dries van Gestel (Topsport), Gaudu and Paolo Ciavatta (D’Amico) joined from behind. Meanwhile, the peloton had exploded to pieces.


With 19km to go, the 8 leaders were brought back but Molard refused to give up. He tried again buthe had no success.


Ag2r put six riders on the front but failed to respond when Reza and Kenny Elissonde made a double attack for FDJ. The latter quickly dropped his teammate who was just launch pad and then soloed clear.


Lastra, Feillu and Serge De Wortelaer (Differdange) took off in pursuit before they started the penultimate lap and they made the junction just after the passage of the line. However, Ag2r soon brought it all back together.


FDJ continued their aggressive strategy by sending Johan Le Bon off in a solo move and he started the final lap as the lone leader. However, Cyril Gautier was now chasing full gas for Ag2r and he quickly neutralized the 5-second advantage.


Ag2r stayed on the front until 500m remained where Cofidis took over. This is when Dumoulin made his move and sprinted away from everybody to take his second win in the race. Vuillermoz crossed the line in second to make it a 1-2 for Ag2r while Arthur Vichot and Matthieu Ladagnous made it two FDJ riders in the top 4.


Overall leader Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie) is doing the Belgium Tour and so he failed to score any points. Hence, Dumoulin is now just 11 points behind in second place and he has a great chance to take the lead tomorrow when the series is set to continue with the hilly Breton classic Boucles de l’Aulne.



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