Jimmy Engoulvent again proved that he is an excellent prologue rider when he won today's opening 4.5km time trial in the Boucles de la Mayenne. The stage was a real target for the experienced Frenchman who beat youngster Florian Senechal (Cofidis) by less than a second.
Jimmy Engoulvent has made it a tradition to win a prologue in the early part of June. The Frenchman has made the short, hilly prologue of the Tour de Luxembourg his specialty and has claimed the win in that particular stage no less than four times.
When the Luxembourgish race opened 24 hours ago, Engoulvent was absent from the start line. His Europcar team had chosen not to do the national tour in the smallest Benelux country to instead focus fully on their home races, Boucles de la Mayenne and Criterium du Dauphiné.
The former race started today with a short 4.5km prologue in Laval and here Engoulvent proved that he excels in the discipline even when it doesn’t take place on Luxembourgish soil. The Europcar rider was the final rider down the ramp and covered the course in a time of 5.48 to win the stage and become the first leader of the race.
Engoulvent’s performance left Florian Senechal with a feeling of disappointment as he was narrowly denied his first professional victory. The talented Frenchman who has made a very strong impression in his first year in the pro ranks, was an early started and led the race for most of the day until he was knocked out of the hot set by the final rider who beat him by less than a second.
The win was the second for Engoulvent in this particular prologue as he won it back in 2010, and the stage was a clear target for the rdier who is gearing up for the Tour de France where he is set to act as a lead-out man for teammate Bryan Coquard.
"I came here to win," he told Directvelo This is the second time I won this prologue. I know it takes a lot of favorable circumstances to win. You should have a good day and attack the rought in the right way.
"I felt that I had good legs in recent days. It was very close but 0.5 second is enough to win. It is usually very close in such a short prologue. We could see that a lot of young riders have really matured.
"Now let's try to keep the jersey, with me or another rider from the team. The important thing is to win the race. A lot of riders are pretty close to the lead. We have to be strong to win the race."
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