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"The door opened from far out, 300 meters of the line. I thought I had to start and that's it. This is my first success in a category 1 race, I'm really happy! "

Photo: Sirotti








20.03.2016 @ 23:16 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

One week after winning Paris-Troyes, Rudy Barbier (Roubaix) confirmed his huge talent by claiming his first win in a 1.1 race when he came out on top in a 50-rider sprint at Cholet Pays De Loire, the third round of the Coupe de France series. After Direct Energie had worked for Bryan Coquard all day, it was Barbier who emerged as the fastest, with Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie) and Yannis Yssaad (Armee) having to settle for second and third respectively.


We have gathered a few reactions.


Victorious Rudy Barbier celebrates his breakthrough win in Cholet

"We were always represented in the echelons,” Barbier told Directvelo. “I lost my lead-out man Dieter Bouvry 1.5 kilometers from the finish. He was caught in a crash. I had to do it alone but with the work the team had provided all day, I managed to find the resources. The door opened from far out, 300 meters of the line. I thought I had to start and that's it. This is my first success in a category 1 race, I'm really happy! "


Baptiste Planckaert takes Coupe de France lead with second place in Cholet

“In Cholet, we were in a group of fifty riders for the sprint but there was no real organization or train to take things in hand,” Baptiste Planckaert said. “There was a crash in the group some 300 meters from the finish. Barbier got a few metres and I came back to his wheel, but it was too late to pass himfor the win. I am very happy with this 2nd place after my abandonment on Saturday at the Classic Loire Atlantique due to mechanical problems. I think that this abandonment was a good option in view of Cholet where many sprinters were present. 


“The Tour de Normandie starts this Monday and runs for a week, with a prologue that should be good for Olivier Pardini. We have a very strong team for this event where we have to fight for victory in stages and overall. 


“Furthermore, I am now the leader of the Coupe de France after Cholet. This status is not an objective because I will miss some races due to the calendar in Belgium, but the Coupe de France could still become a goal throughout the season depending on my results in other French races."


Armee de Terre sprinter shows great potential with third place in Cholet

Yannis Yssaad was in the break all day and still managed to take third in the sprint.


"The day was long,” he told Directvelo. "With a headwind for most the day, it was not easy but we had the chance to get a big advantage (11 minutes, Ed). Later we were of course quickly caught sixty kilometers from the finish. I saw that it was my team that tried to make echelons so I wanted to help as much I could.


“On the final circuit I saw that I was still good. In the end, it was good to be back. The team protected me well up to 2-3 km from the line. At the time of the sprint, I was a little hampered by the crash of a Direct Energie rider. I moved to the right, but I'm already happy not to crash. When one passes you close to a win, it's always a little frustrating but it's still a good day. It is also a good overall result. We raced without any complex. We even took first place in the team standings.”


Ag2r neo-professional takes best result of his career in Cholet

Neo-pro Nico Denz (Ag2r) was fourth in the sprint.


"There were echelons several times and at one point, the peloton fell apart,” he said. “We were three in front with Blel (Kadri) and Damien (Gaudin). Blel attacked but failed to get the away. I tried to give a hand to Damien but he was caught shortly before the finish. I got good position in the final, I have a little top speed and I was well-placed in the sprint. I started from very far out in the final 400 meters, and when Barbier passed me I could not go faster. I'm happy with this 4th place.


“After the Tour de Provence, I was tired and it was difficult for me. However, during the second day of the Three Days of West Flanders, I was caught200 meters from the line. I found a reason for satisfaction. Now I will go to Belgium for Dwars door Vlaanderen and the GP E3. They will be great experiences.”

His teammate Blel Kadri was voted the most aggressive rider and Maxime Daniel was the best climber.


Young FDJ sprinter shows potential, Offredo to miss cobbled classics
The FDJ team suffered in the Classic Loire-Atlantique but made up for it at Cholet-Pays de Loire. Marc Sarreau took fifth place after two good efforts from Murilo Fischer and Johan Le Bon.


"We decided to join every attack without losing our heads and listening to the sensations. The guys did a good race," sports director Yvon Madiot said.

Murilo Fischer escaped at km 18 with Daniel (AG2R-La Mondiale), Anderson (Direct Energie) and Ysaad (Armee). Before the break was caught, Yoann Offredo suffered a crash and was immediately taken to the hospital for examinations which revealed a cromioclavicular dislocation which will force him to rest for several weeks. 


"in the end, fifty riders were gathered at the front and we had Olivier Le Gac, Laurent Pichon, Marc Sarreau and Johan Le Bon who attacked 3 kilometers from the finish line with Damien Gaudin but Direct Energie who were still well represented did not let them get more than 50 meters. They were caught under the red flame." 


The sprint was marked by crashes but Marc Sarreau got his best result of the season by taking fifth place. Before the Route Adélie in ten days, FDJ is third in the teams classification of the Coupe de France.


Bad luck for Wanty-Groupe Gobert in Cholet

The GP Cholet-Pays de Loire was the second race this weekend for Wanty-Groupe Gobert.


“After a disappointing race on Saturday, the team was extremely motivated to set things straight. At 40 kilometers from the line we lost three of our guys: Robin Stenuit, Kévin Van Melsen and Lander Seynaeve. They didn't manage to get back to the bunch,” Rossignon continues. 


The 210-kilometre race would end in a bunch sprint.  Antoine Demoitié was Wanty-Groupe Gobert's dedicated sprinter. Frederik Backaert, Mark McNally, Simone Antonini and Dimitri Claeys were all well-positioned around him.


“We were just behind Direct Energie and very well grouped together," Rossignon describes. "In the final 500 metres both McNally and Claeys were still with Antoine. But then, at 150 metres, a crash. Chances gone. We were strong as a team and Antoine would really have been able to sprint to a podium place. The condition is good, as is the mentality of the team, but we were just missing out on a bit of luck." 



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