Saturday 18 March 2017 at 20h46

It doesn't happen very often that the Classic Loire Atlantique ends in a bunch sprint, but that's what almost happened this afternoon in La Haye Fouassière, even though Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) didn't want that to happen when he got away from the peloton in the last few kilometers, to finally win the race with only a few meters ahead on the second placed rider, Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie)!


The summary of the Classic Loire-Atlantique 2017

The 18th edition of the Classic Loire-Atlantique was 182.8 kilometers long, in 11 laps on a circuit around La Haye Fouassière, as usual these past few years. The race thus as usual started and finished in La Haye Fouassière, not far from Nantes. La Haye Fouassière would like to get the French cycling championships to come their way in 2019!

Quite quickly after the start, in the first lap, Marc Fournier (FDJ) broke away from the peloton, joined in his effort by Kévin Le Cunff (HP BTP-Auber 93) and Benoît Cosnefroy (Equipe de France).
Marc Fournier, Benoît Cosnefroy & Kévin Le Cunff
Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Flavien Dassonville (HP BTP-Auber 93) briefly tried to join this leading trio but this chasing duo was rapidly taken back, even though they came as close as only 40 seconds behind the breakaway.

At the end of the second lap, the gap the leading trio had on the peloton was already up to 1'30" and it continued to go up rather quickly, up to 4'20" in the 4th lap on the circuit.

The gap continued to be somewhere in between 3 and 4 minutes in the following laps while the leading trio continued its race in the muscadet wineyards. Yoann OffredoIt was only after about 8 laps that the gap started to really go down, thanks to the efforts of the Wanty-Groupe Gobert, Direct Energie and Cofidis teams in the lead of the peloton and at one point in the 8th lap on the circuit, Yoann Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) decided to start chasing the leading group.

The big breakawayAnother chasing group broke away from the peloton in the 9th lap, with no less than 13 riders in it and, with Offredo, they get back on the leading groep. A part from Fournier, Cosnefroy and Le Cunff the lead of the race was thus completed with Offredo (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Hurel, Boudat, Voeckler (Direct Energie), Sprengers (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise), Cousin, Hofstetter (Cofidis), Vanspeybroucke (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Vachon, Perichon, Feillu, Bonnamour, Delaplace and Pichon (Fortunéo-Vital Concept). While there were less than 2 laps left, they got company from some other riders but also lost some elements.

In the last lap on the circuit this group saw its gap go down rather quickly and in the last 10 kilometers Franck Bonnamour (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) thus decided to attack since that's often how this race is won! At only a few kilometers from the finish, this riders is however taken back by the peloton and it is then the turn for his team mate, Laurent Pichon, to attack. Bonnamour again does the effort to get back on his team mate and to help him, taking the lead from time to time. In the last kilometer he however leaves Pichon alone leading the race and despite the very small gap, he goes on to the victory at the finish in La Haye Fouassière. Stopping his effort at about one hundred meters from the finish and putting his hands in the air at a bit less than 50 meters of the finish line, the rider of the Fortuneo-Vital Concept team almost lost the race but on the finish line he was still a few meters ahead on Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) and Hugo Hoffstetter.

The classification of the Classic Loire Atlantique 2017

The podium of the Classic Loire-Atlantique 2017Here's the top 10 of this race:

1/ Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) - 4h26'19"
2/ Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie)
3/ Hugo Hoffstetter (Cofidis, solutions crédits)
4/ Edward Planckaert (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise)
5/ Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale)
6/ Jérémy Leveau (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
7/ Andrea Vendrame (Androni Giocattoli)
8/ Olivier Le Gac (FDJ)
9/ Flavien Dassonville (HP BTP-Auber 93)
10/ Odd Christian Eiking (FDJ)

>> See the photo of Laurent Pichon's victory in the Classic Loire Atlantique 2017


The other classifications

In the other classifications we saw Kévin Le Cunff (HP BTP-Auber 93) take the highest number of points in the king of the "mountains" classification, Marc Fournier (FDJ) in the points (sprints) classification while Benoît Cosnefroy (Equipe de France) was chosen as the most competitive rider of the race. The current member of Chambéry Cyclisme Formation will become a professional in the AG2R La Mondiale team at the end of July and his first race will be La Polynormande!

In the Coupe de France PMU 2017, Laurent Pichon (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) becomes the new leader at the same level (50 points) as Arthur Vichot (FDJ), winner in La Marseillaise. After this second race, the 3rd place of the classicifation is taken by Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie), with 35 points.

>> The photos of the Classic Loire Atlantique 2017

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Classic Loire Atlantique | Coupe de France


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