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"The time trial is still a discipline that I enjoy. I knew I had a shot at the win today as I had not lost time in the first stages. But I didn’t think I would be able to gain 14 seconds on Sylvain Chavanel."

Photo: Sirotti

AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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AN POST-SEAN KELLY TEAM

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ANGEL MADRAZO

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BRYAN COQUARD

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CAJA RURAL - SEGUROS RGA

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DIRECT ENERGIE

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ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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IAM CYCLING

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JEAN-CHRISTOPHE PÉRAUD

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JEROME COPPEL

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LOTTO SOUDAL

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ROTH-SKODA

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THIBAUT PINOT

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TONY GALLOPIN

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07.02.2016 @ 22:50 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jerome Coppel (IAM) confirmed his status as the best French time triallist when he took a dominant win in the final stage of the Etoile de Besseges. The Worlds bronze medallist was the only rider to cover the 11.9km course in less than 17 minutes and put 14 seconds into Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) in second while Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r) was 15 second off the pace in third. That was enough to take the overall win with a 13-second advantage over Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) and 14-second advantage over Pinot.

 

We have gathered several reactions.

 

Jerome Coppel: I didn’t expect that I would be able to gain enough time on Chavanel

”I wanted to win the stage; but to get the overall as well is even better," Jérôme Coppel said just before collecting his two trophies at the finish of the 46th Etoile de Bessèges.  "I knew I had to make the difference in the last two kilometers of the rollers. So I left some extra reserves to be able to call on them near the end. On the last steep climb I gave everything that I had; but I didn't think I had created such a gap.  With this double win, I have been able to reward all the hard work that all the guys, and the staff, have done throughout the week. This success is not only good for me but the entire team as well.

 

"The time trial is still a discipline that I enjoy. I knew I had a shot at the win today as I had not lost time in the first stages. But I didn’t think I would be able to gain 14 seconds on Sylvain Chavanel. 

 

“I immediately felt well. I gave everything. I would have had no regrets if I had not won. It's a short time trial but you still have to manage the effort. I like that. 

 

“I work hard on my time trial and have beautiful material. I take a lot of pleasure from it. Last year, I did well in the TTs and I hope it will be the same this year. I feel good in the team, we had a good week and we laughed a lot. 

 

“Paris-Nice is not the race that I like most. There still a prologue and we'll see what happens. Winning early is good and shows that I worked well in the winter. I like coming to the Etoile de Bessèges and it was my sixth participation. When you win, it's always a little better. The Tour de Romandie, the Tour de France and the Championships of France where I hope to defend my title, should be the big goals of my season. 

 

“My medal at the World Championships liberated me. I turned my focus away from the time trial when it was my specialty at the junior and U23 level but now I have returned to work in it. This works fine. I wanted the title of French champion before stopping my career, and I got it last year. Then there was this medal in Richmond that was a bonus. I get much more serene in the time trial." 

 

Four IAM Cycling riders placed in the top-20 at this 11.6 Kilometer time Trial behind Jérôme Coppel, with Dries Devenyns finishing 6th, Oliver Naesen in 12th and Jonathan Fumeaux 16th. Lionel Marie, directeur sportif for IAM Cycling along with Thierry Marichal at the Etoile de Bessèges, enjoyed the success of the team, which was his second in the past eight days counting also the victory of Dries Devenyns at the GP La Marseillaise. 

 

"We were victorious in the sprint last week, and this week we have changed things up to win the general classification as well.  We managed to do this thanks to the hard work that the whole team did every moment of the day. Jérôme Coppel put a nice cherry on the top of this week as the winner in Ales.  This bodes well for the rest of the season at races where riders like Dries Devenyns and Oliver Naesen will shine."

 

Already winner of the Etoile de Bessèges in 2012 thanks to his success in the time trial again, Jérôme Coppel (29), current time Trial Champion of France, has not won a continental race since Tour du Doubs 2012.

 

After a week of recovery, Jérôme Coppel will resume racing at the Ruta del Sol and then continue with the classics South Ardeche and Drome and then onto Paris-Nice.

 

Tony Gallopin: It’s no coincidence that Coppel was third in Richmond

"I feel about the same as last year, except that I got no stage victory this year,” Gallopin said. “On Friday Chavanel appeared slightly stronger. Just like in 2015 I finish second in the GC but Coppel proved himself to be better. I got twelve second bonus during the stages, but today he was 25 count seconds faster in the time trial. It’s no coincidence that Coppel was third at the world championships. 

 

“During the time trial I felt good, maybe I started a bit too careful, because on the climb I rode really smooth. The Etoile de Bessèges was part of my preparation for Paris-Nice. Now I willl train a week at home and then the Tour of Algarve will take place. That is my last competition before the "Race to the Sun.” I have one month to get ready.”

 

Thibaut Pinot confirms great TT improvement with second place in Besseges

"I was going for the win. I was wary of Sylvain Chavanel who was 14 seconds ahead. I also doubted that Jerome Coppel would do a great time trial. I was up against a rider who was stronger than me. I have no regrets,” Pinot told Directvelo.

 

“It was the first time with the new TT bike. I mainly wanted to test myself in this TT, having worked well this winter. It was a repetition of the French Championships because all the best Frenchmen were there. This is a time trial in two parts. It is rolling early and it ends with a climb. I like that. It was important to do for the rest of the season. 

 

“I have two 2nd and 3rd places. It would have been nice to win in February to boost the confidence. I like the course of the Grand Prix La Marseillaise and it's nice to race in France. I have no pressure here. It's good to come to prepare myself at these races. There are people at the finish. The final circuits are technical but that's the charm of Bessèges. 

 

“It is true that I rode with Sébastien Reichenbach for the first time but it was not a mountainous race. We were mainly here to prepare. The first test for my group will be the Tour of Algarve. I go there with confidence. The field will be worthy of a WorldTour race. I feel in good shape and there we'll see if I'm in great shape. There will be two summit finishes and a time trial of 30 kilometers so it will be a good test. If I can with the best, it will be good." 

 

"We leave the Etoile de Bessèges with a good result but without having success," said sports director Yvon Madiot who certainly regrets not having seen his riders raise their arms but is satisfied with the overall performance. "There is no doubt that the FDJ team is much better equipped than last year. We worked well under pressure all week."

 

Yvon Madiot leaves the race with four podiums, the collective strength of the group and the prospects for future victories, especially with Arnaud Démare who will "win numerous times when he gets the firs one."

 

"Thibaut would have preferred that this stage was longer but he demonstrated that he is one of the best French riders. He beat Sylvain Chavanel which is a big performance. He takes the corners much better today than last year and two years ago in the same time trial. It must be added that Arthur Vichot was also good today and even though he had was unlucky by crashing on Saturday, he finished in fifth place overall which launches his season well."

 

Jean-Christophe Peraud: This third place reassures me

"I started this week badly by breaking a wheel on the first day but I finished well,” Peraud said. “I wanted to win my first time trial but I am still reassured with third place. I know I have more work to do before the big goals but I'm leaving a little more reassured that when I arrived.”

 

Pierre-Roger Latour confirms his huge potential in Besseges

Pierre Latour was seventh overall and best young rider.

 

"I make ​​a positive assessment of this Etoile because it was my first race. I did not think that I would be at this level,” he told Directvelo.

 

“The team worked well all week. Initially, I was one of the protected riders alongside "Jicé" (Péraud) but he broke his wheel on the first day. Hubert Dupont then became leader with me. But yesterday, he missed a small split. 

 

“This morning, there were only for me for the overall and I made ​​the TT a full gas. The time trial was more difficult to manage than last year because initially we had headwind from then tailwind before hitting the climb which allowed us to recover. But this year, it was really tough all the time and it was harder. 

 

“They say the hardest thing is to confirm the first season so it's good to get a result at the beginning of my second year in the pro ranks. Before Paris-Nice, I will do the Tour du Haut Var and the Drôme-Ardèche." 

 

Ag2r sports director pleased with Etoile de Besseges outcome

"We end the week well with this first podium for Jean-Christophe and 8th place for Pierre,” Ag2r sports director Julien Jurdie said. “We knew that the course of Bessèges was favorable to sprinters. Still, we tried our luck. Jean-Christophe is reassured with his form and without his mechanical problem on the first day, the top five podium was within reach. Pierre confirms his good qualities as a time triallist. He finished seventh and was best young rider. He is close to the best. We saw Hubert Dupont being a good road captain and in front almost every day. I am satisfied with the team even if we leave Bessèges winless. There must be some frustration but we are on the right track. "

 

Bryan Coquard: It was a fantastic week for the team

Bryan Coquard left the race with two stage wins and the points jersey.

 

"I'm happy with my week,” he told Directvelo. “We have laid the foundations. That worked pretty well. We had the jersey and we had to defend it. Yesterday (Saturday), we would have liked to go for the win but we could not do everything. The other teams did not help us. Too bad for them and I'm glad Madrazo won because like out team he is known to be offensive. It's good that the break can stay away.

 

“Today Jérôme (Coppel) did a great time trial. Congratulations to him. We managed our Etoile de Bessèges. We were ​​strong and want to keep that positive trend. We are still doing out preparation. We leave the race super satisfied.

 

“The team is at a crossroads. Thomas [Voeckler] and Sylvain [Chavanel] are more at the end than at the beginning of their careers. It's good to have young riders that become strong like Caribou (Antoine Duchesne) and Angelo (Tulik). There are also guys like Tony Hurel. It is a great team. Adrien [Petit] has launched us at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo (overall winner and three stages, ed). I hope it will continue. 

 

“I will now do the Clasica de Almeria, the Ruta del Sol and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Then Paris-Nice will be the first goal of my season.”

 

Caja Rural leave France with first 2016 victory

The final stage of the French stage race was a 11.9 km time trial. Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling) won both the stage and the overall race, while Diego Rubio finished 23rd against the clock for Caja Rural. In the general classification, Fabricio Ferrari was 20th, while Ángel Madrazo finished in 23rd place overall after his impressive stage win yesterday.  
 
Sports director Eugenio Goikoetxea was pleased.

 

“This has been a very good race for us. Not only on a sporting level but also on a psychological level. We take home a beautiful stage victory, which is very important for the morale of the team”.

The next races for Caja Rural - Seguros RGA are Vuelta Murcia and Clásica Almeria next weekend.

 

Successful race for Team Roth at Etoile de Besseges

The U23 riders of the Swiss team Roth showed their best at the five-day stage race Etoile de Bessèges. In the very first stage Roland Thalmann from Lucerne conquered the blue jersey of the best mountain rider. After that Dylan Page from Vaud made his appearance with a 16th place in the second stage, earning him the white jersey of the youth classification. In the 3rd stage the two Swiss neo-professionals were set back slightly, but in the 4th stage Thalmann showed his class. With a spirited attack he secured the victory in the mountains classification. This success was worth 18 UCI points for Roland Thalmann.

 

An Post pleased with outcome of Etoile de Besseges

It has been a successful first tour of 2016 for An Post,  Nicolas Vereecken contesting the sprints in stages one and two and placing 21stin the stage five ITT.

 

Damien Shaw was in the break in his first professional tour in stage three and had a great chase in the break and there was a fifth place in stage four for Jacob Scott. He also took top places in the GPMs and intermediate sprints on the stage and had a top 40 place in the ITT. 

 

Vereecken finished best for An Post Chain Reaction in the General Classification in a good 30th place with Scott just behind in 31st. Bovenhuis completed a trio in 32nd place.

 

DS Kurt Bogaerts said: “Overall I am very happy with the way the guys have ridden this week. Some great showing of talent and strength and they have come together as a team very well. We look forward to our next race Le Samyn, Belgium at the end of February, in the meantime lots more training will be planned.”

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