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Italian makes a perfectly timed sprint at the end of a very aggressive race on Breton circuit to narrowly edge out Nizzolo and Dumoulin

Photo: Sirotti

FILIPPO POZZATO

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01.09.2013 @ 17:01 Posted by Malte Philbert Jessen

Filippo Pozzato (Lampre) proved that he is finally back to his best when he won today's WorldTour race GP Ouest France - Plouay. The Italian saw an opening in a hectic sprint after Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) had been reeled in inside the final kilometre, and narrowly edged out Giacomo Nizzolo (Radioshack) and Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) to take his first win in  WorldTour one-day race since his 2006 Milan-Sanremo victory.

 

Filippo Pozzato has not had the easiest first few months as a Lampre rider when he completely missed out in the cobbled classics that were set to form the centrepiece of his season. When he won the Coppa Agostoni a few weeks ago, he gave indications that things were starting to come around and today he proved that he is back on top when he won the WorldTour race GP Ouest France - Plouay.

 

Instead of joining one of the many attacks that dominated the final part of the hilly race, the Italian kept calm in the peloton and was confident that he could beat his rivals in a final sprint. When Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) was reeled in inside the final kilometre, he was, however, positioned far back while Radishack set a fierce pace to set up Giacomo Nizzolo for the win.

 

The Radioshack sprinter opened a long sprint and appeared to have locked up the biggest win of his career when Pozzato suddenly saw an opening. The Lampre captain made a fantastic sprint to come around his compatriot just before the line and finally win a big WorldTour race again.

 

Samuel Dumoulin made an equally fast finish from even farther behind and crossed the line in 3rd to complete the podium. Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto Belisol) finished 4th while Daniele Bennati (Saxo-Tinkoff) had been left off in a perfect position but faded to 5th.

 

The race was the second of the big European autumn classics and many of the riders who raced today's race, will be present when the series continues next weekend with the Brussels Cycling Classic and the GP Fourmies.

 

A circuit race

The historic Breton one-day race was held on a 27km circuit around Plouay and the riders had to cover 9 laps and 18 climbs on the 243km course. The hilly course is perfectly suited to aggressive racing and the classics specialists and strong sprinters had all set their sights on the honour of succeeding Edvald Boasson Hagen as race winner.

 

On the first lap, Natnael Berhane (Europcar), Vegard Stake Laengen (Bretagne), Christophe Laborie (Sojasun) and Julien Fouchard (Cofidis) escaped and they were allowed to build up a massive 15.50 lead while the peloton decided to take it easy, covering only one 27km lap during the first hour.

 

A chase is organized

FDJ started to chase and they were later joined by Argos-Shimano, the two teams hoping to see Arnaud Demare and John Degenkolb sprint for the win. Later Omega Pharma-Quick Step took control as they hoped for a hard race that would favour their attackers over the sprinters.

 

When the peloton started the 7th lap, the gap had come down to a little less than 7 minutes, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step had now been joined by Astana. For a long time, Jerome Pineau (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and Valerio Agnoli (Astana) set a hard pace that gradually brought down the gap to less than 3 minutes.

 

Omega Pharma-Quick Step in control

When they started the penultimate lap, Astana disappeared from the front and allowed it to Omega Pharma-Quick Step to do all the work. The Belgian team tightened up the race when they put Julien Vermote and Michal Golas on the front, the duo further upping the pace.

 

On the first climb, Cyril Gautier (Europcar) attacked but Golas was quick to respond. Yury Trofimov (Katusha) bridged across but as Golas refused to do any work, Michael Schär (BMC) brough it back together. David Lopez (Sky) tried to make a counterattack but had no success and instead Golas and Vermote once again took over the pace-setting duties.

 

Aggressive racing

The gap was now down to 1.50 and Pavel Brutt (Katusha) saw an opportunity to bridge across. He was joined by Luke Durbridge (Orica-GreenEDGE), Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) and Manuel Quinziato (BMC) and later more riders also bridged across.

 

The group was now too big to have any kind of cohesion and so Manuel Boaro (Saxo-Tinkoff) tried to go off on his own. The group came back together but moments later they were reeled in by the peloton.

 

Saxo-Tinkoff calms things down

The aggression continued with Durbridge, Schär, Brutt, Boaro, Francesco Gavazzi (Astana), Damiano Cunego (Lampre), Tom Dumoulin (Argos-Shimano), Sergey Lagutin (Vacansoleil), Lopez, Bert-Jan Lindeman (Vacansoleil), Boaro, Roelandts, Dirk Bellemakers (Lotto), Nelson Oliveira (Radioshack) AND Daryl Impey (Orica-GreenEDGE) being some of the riders that were part of the action. None of the different group had, however, any success when they hit the bottom of the 2nd climb, Saxo-Tinkoff had put Mads Christensen on the front in an attempt to calm things down.

 

The break was almost caught and so Fouchard decided to launch an attack. Stake Laengen set off in pursuit but both were overtaken by Mirko Selvaggi (Vacansoleil) who had attacked from the peloton. Saxo-Tinkoff reeled in all of the early escapees while Selvaggi decided to give up when BMC also joined the chase.

 

More attacks

It was all back together when the peloton started the final lap. Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne) broke the harmony when he attacked on the first climb. Fabien Schmist (Sojasun) passed him and was joined by Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne), Lagutin, Bellemakers, Eduard Vorganov (Katusha), Romain Bardet (Ag2r), Thomas Löfkvist (IAM) and a couple of other riders.

 

Devenyns and Dumoulin form a front duo

Löfkvist tried to set off on his own and instead Dries Devenyns (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) got clear. Tom Dumoulin bridged across but refused to do any work and so it was left to Devenyns to keep the move going.

 

Saxo-Tinkoff took control in the peloton, putting Sergio Paulinho on the front. He was later replaced by Lotto who hoped to see Roelandts mix it up it the best in a sprint and they brought back the front duo.

 

Visconti escapes

Visconti made another attack and was joined by Tim Wellens (Lotto) and Kristijan Koren (Cannondale). Those three riders were allowed to build up a gap but Wellens refused to do any work.

 

Behind, BMC had organized a chase and Schär and Taylor Phinney brought it back together just as they hit the bottom of the final climb. That was when Omega Pharma-Quick Step played their final card as Devenyns accelerated with teammate Michal Kwiatkowski on his wheel.

 

A dangerous front group

The Pole made a fierce attack and over the top he only had John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) and Van Avermaet for company. Enrico Gasparotto (Astana), Daniel Oss (BMC), Roelandts, Marco Marco and Bjorn (Leukemans) bridged across to form a very powerful front group.

 

Gasparotto made an immediate attack but was quickly reeled, thus opening an opportunity for Van Avermaet. The Belgian got a big gap and was now being pursued by Martin Elmiger (IAM) - who had bridged across to the leaders - and Leukemans.

 

Astana and Radioshack set up a sprint

Van Avermaet's former companions were caught and so Astana organized a chase. They reeled in the chase group but when they passed the flamme rouge, Van Avermaet was still ahead.

 

That was when Radioshack took control and the Luxembourgish team brought it back together. All was set for a Nizzolo win but Pozzato had different plans, taking a narrow win ahead of his compatriot.

 

Results:

1. Filippo Pozzato 5.59.54

2. Giacomo Nizzolo

3. Samuel Dumoulin

4. Jurgen Roelandts

5. Daniele Bennati

6. Thor Hushovd

7. Elia Viviani

8. Francisco Ventoso

9. Borut Bozic

10. John Degenkolb

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