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Having joined an 8-rider group with five Cofidis riders, Turgis made a late solo move to take the win at Classic Loire Atlantique; Chetout made it a 1-2 for Cofidis on a day when they had four riders in the top 5, with Ledanois taking third

Photo: Sirotti






19.03.2016 @ 18:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) confirmed his huge talent by taking a solo win on a dominant day for his Cofidis team at Classic Loire-Atlantique. Having placed five riders in the decisive 8-rider group, the team had cards to play and it was Turgis who made the right solo move to take the win. Loic Chetout beat Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) in the sprint for second while Kenneth Vanbilsen and Florian Senechal made it four riders from Cofidis in the top 5!


In 2012, Anthony Turgis emerged as a future top rider when he finished second in the junior Paris-Roubaix and the European Championships. In 2014, he won the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and was third at the European Championships.


Those results earned him a contract with the Cofidis team and they quickly realized that they had hit the jackpot. In his first year on the pro scene, he won a stage and the overall at Boucles de la Mayenne and was third behind his race-winning compatriot Kevin Ledanois at the U23 World Championships.


Today Turgis did it again as he claimed his first one-day win at the pro level in the Coupe de France race, Classic Loire-Atlantique. However, Turgis’ own performance was overshadowed by the result of his Cofidis team which managed to put four riders into the top 5, with only Ledanois breaking the dominance in third.


The hilly race is held on a 16.8km circuit with two climbs and has never been decided in a sprint. This meant that everybody was keen to attack and it became a brutal race that only 49 riders completed. It took more than half of the race before a break got an advantage of more than a minute and at that point the peloton had already split to pieces, with several riders being forced to abandon due to the extreme speed.


After a 20-rider group had been off the front for a while, it was a 37-rider group that gathered at the front. Having been on top of things all day, Cofidis had strength in number and that turned out to be decisive when the right move was formed.


Yoann Offredo (FDJ), Loïc Chetout, Hugo Hofstetter, Florian Senechal, Kenneth Vanbilsen and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo), Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen) emerged from the group before it was caught by a bigger peloton. Coquard quickly exploded and was even dropped from the peloton to suddenly find himself in a second bunch.


The 8 leaders pushed the gap out to 50 seconds before the peloton again split in two. With 45km to go, the gap had gone out to a minute as Senechal led the group to the top of a climb to win the final KOM sprint.


Damien Gaudin (AG2R), Pierrick Fedrigo (Fortuneo) and Grégory Habeaux (Wallonie) tried to bridge the gap and later Romain Combaud (Armee) and Dimitri Claeys (Wanty) also tried. With 35km to go, the first chase trio was at 1.00, the second chase duo at 1.35 and the peloton at 1.50.


The peloton was losing ground and so Flavien Dassonville (Auber 93) also tried to bridge the gap. He found himself at 1.55 with 25km to go when the peloton was 2.40 behind. The Fedrigo group was at 40 seconds and the next two chasers at 1.40. Moments later Dassonville joined Claeys and Combaud.


Only 40 riders were left in the race as they entered the final 22km. The chase trio was stuck at 50 seconds and the peloton was out of the battle as they were now 3.30 behind.


Dassonville paid for his efforts and was left behind while the front group pushed their gaps out to 1.05 and 2.20 respectively. Hofstetter became the first rider in the front group to pay the prize as he was distanced with 20km to go, quickly deciding to wait for the three chasers.


The game for the win started when Chetou and  Ledanois attacked and put 15 seconds into their former companions. At the start of the final lap, it had gone out to 17 seconds.


Senechal bridged the gap to the front duo but the seven riders came back together as they approached the hardest section of the circuit. Meanwhile, the chasers were getting closer and were now just 30 seconds behind.


This is when Turgis played his card. The Cofidis took off in a solo move and quickly got a 5-second advantage. With three teammates in the chase group, he found himself in a great position and quickly pushed the gap out to 35 seconds. The chasers had given up and were now at 1.25.


With 3km to go, Turgis was 40 seconds ahead and it was clear that he was not going to get caught. While he had plenty of time to celebrate his win, shaking hands with his manager, the battle for second place started when Cheout and Ledanois attacked. The latter could sit on as he had a teammate in front and easily won the sprint for second before Vanbilsen and Senechal crossed the line to make it four Cofidis riders in the top 5.


With the win, Turgis is now equal on points in the overall Coupe de France lead. The next round will already be held tomorrow when the riders tackle the Cholet Pays de Loire.


A hilly circuit

The 17th edition of Classic Loire-Atlantique was held on a 16.8km circuit around the city of La Haye Fouassiére that the riders covered 11 times for a total distance of 182.8km. It included two climbs with 9.8km and 7.4km to go and then had an uphill drag of one kilometre that led to the final 1500m that were predominantly flat.


It was an overcast, cold and relatively windy day when the riders gathered for the start. Gaetan Pons (Wallonie) was the only non-starter as they headed out for their neutral ride.


A brutal start

As usual it was a very fast and it was FortuneoVital Concept that took control early on. They quickly neutralized a two-rider attack involving a Caja Rural rider.


Instead, Olivier Le Gac (FDJ), Christophe Laborie (Delko) and Jeremy Cornu (Direct Energie) escaped and they were joined by Chetout and Kenny De Ketele (Topsport Vlaadneren). 3M started to chase before Ag2r accelerated 4km from the end of the first lap. Riders from Ag2r, Direct Energie and Armee tried to bridge across but it was all back together just before the first passage of the line.


A mass exodus

Damien Gaudin (Ag2r) and Ledanois tried to counter the move but at the end of the first lap, it was all back together. Cofidis rode on the front and the peloton started to split when two riders tried to get clear. Tristan Marguet, Rino Zampili, Colin Stüssi (Roth), Marco Bandiera (Androni), Mark McNally (Wanty), Felix Poilly (Roubaix) and Adrian Gonzalez (Euskadi) were the first to get dropped, with all of them quickly abandoning.


Cofidis sent more riders out the back door before Armee took over. Moments later Tugis attacked for the first time and was joined by Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural). While one of the favourites Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie) punctured, they build a gap of 20 seconds. Planckaert would later abandon the race alongside Bob Schoonbroodt (3M) who was dropped.


15 riders get clear

A 15-rider group took off in pursuit and stayed 10 seconds behind the two leaders who were now 25 seconds ahead of the peloton. The junction was made in front while a second chase group was brought back.


The front group was made up of Quentin Jauregui (AG2R), Olivier Le Gac (FDJ), Loïc Chetout, Florian Sénéchal and Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Jérémy Cornu and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie), Francis Mourey (Fortuneo), Romain Combaud (Marseille), Fabricio Ferrari and Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural), Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen), David Menut (Auber 93), Rudy Barbier and Jérémy Leveau (Roubaix), Yann Guyot (Armée de Terre) and Jimmy Janssens (Team 3M) and they had to fight hard to get a gap. The past pace meant that the peloton was split into three groups and when Chetout beat Lastra and Cornu in the first KOM sprint, the gap was only 10 seconds. Florent Delfosse, Maxime Daniel, Marc Sarreau, Murilo Fischer, Sebastien Delfosse, Alberto Nardin and Frank Pasche left the race while strong riders like Julien El Fares and Marc Fournier found themselves in a 20-rider group that was far behind.


The break is caught

The first peloton caught the breakaway but as there were riders all over the road, new attacks could be launched. Senechal, Jauregui and Barbier went again and Chetout also gave it ago but it was quickly back together.


The peloton was still split into several groups when Jimmy Raibaud (Armee) tried to get clear. He was brought back but the next move worked as 13 riders suddenly got a gap of 40 seconds.


13 riders get a gap

Sébastien Turgot (AG2R), Laurent Pichon (FDJ), Anthony Perez, Yoann Bagot and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Cofidis), Pierrick Fédrigo and Kévin Ledanois (Fortuneo), Christophe Laborie (Delko Marseille), Jonathan Lastra (Caja Rural), Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen), Daan Myngheer (Roubaix) and Jimmy Raibaud (Armée de Terre) pushed the gap out to 1.10 while Olivier Le Gac and Lorrenzo Manzin (FDJ), Florian Sénéchal (Cofidis), Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen), Maxime Renault (Auber 93) and Jimmy Janssens (Team 3M) tried to bridge the gap.


The chasers never made it as Direct Energie shut it down. Meanwhile, Janssens crashed after riding into a child in the feed zone.


Riders bridge across

Tony Hurel did a big job for Direct Energie before sitting up when he had reduced the gap to just 25 seconds. When the gap was down to 10 seconds, the peloton split in two. Auber 93 had missed the first group and started to chase hard in the second bunch.


The small gap allowed Damien Gaudin (Ag2r), Hugo Hofstetter (Cofidis), Sylvain Chavanel, Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie), Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) and two unidentified riders to bridge across and the 20-rider group maintained a 10-20-second gap for some time. The pace was too much for Perez and Lastra who were both dropped from the break.


37 riders gather in the front

The gap went out to 30 seconds while Quentin Pacher (Delko) tried to bridge across. He never made it as the peloton was now getting closer.


Hofstetter and Ledanois attacked from the front group and the latter quickly distanced his companion. Meanwhile, the peloton split again and the first peloton caught both everybody to form a 37-rider front group. From that group, the decisive move was made when Cofidis went on the attack



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