Sunday 20 March 2011 at 19h53

After a long breakaway formed by 9 riders, Cholet-Pays de Loire, the second race of the Coupe de France PMU was finally won by Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) in his very own special way: attacking at a few kilometers from the finish and than just finishing it.


The summary of Cholet-Pays de Loire 2011

Under a hesitating sun, 129 riders came to the start of the 34th edition of Cholet-Pays de Loire at the end of this morning.

Quickly after the start, one rider rode away from the peloton but Flavio de Luna (Team Spidertech Powered by C10) was taken back by the peloton even before they started the climb of the Côte du Cimétière / Les Gardes where Preben van Hecke (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) rides away from the peloton just before the top and takes the first points for the Challenge des 10 bosses.

The Belgian rider gets company from 8 other riders: Johannes Fröhlinger (Skil-Shimano), Jimmy Casper for Saur-Sojasun, Jérôme Cousin of Europcar Team, Cédric Pineau for FDJ, Laurent Pichon and Armindo Fonseca for the Bretagne-Schuller team, Rafael Majka for Saxo Bank-Sungard and the Belgian rider Frederik Veuchelen for the Dutch Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team.

The peloton first decides to let the 9 riders go and their gap thus quickly goes up to its maximum of 5'50". Preben van HeckeThe AG2R La Mondiale and Cofidis, le crédit en ligne teams than assume their responsibility as big teams on this race of the Coupe de France and start leading the peloton. Led by these two teams, the peloton takes back some time on the breakaway but after having been stabilised around 4'10" it goes back up to around 5 minutes and stays at that value for quite a long time.
In the feeding zone in Saint Pierre Montlimart, just before halfway in the race, the gap is around 4 minutes and from there the peloton slowly starts taking back some time on the breakaway. The commissaires who were present in this race mentioned the fact that the riders behaved very well by throwing their bidons at places where people could grab them. A simple green idea which not only allows to prevent these non bio-degradable elements to be in the nature but also allow a cycling fan to go home with a smile on his face!

The breakawayAt a few kilometers from the first crossing of the finish line, the gap is back down to 30 seconds and Cédric Pineau decided to attack at that time to try to gain some time before being taken back. The leading group completely falls apart after this attack but gets back together in the following kilometers, except for Rafael Majka who decided to abandon the race and for Laurent Pichon. This attack gave new life to the breakaway and, together with his presence in the breakaway of the day, allowed Cédric Pineau to be elected most combative rider of Cholet-Pays de Loire 2011.
At the first crossing of the finish line, the 7 leading riders only have a few meters left on the peloton and the junction thus seems to arrive very quickly. The 7 riders manage to arrive on top of the forelast climb first anyway and even though Preben van Hecke doesn't start the descent first, the Belgian rider easily wins the Challenge des 10 bosses anyway since he arrived on top of 8 out of 10 climbs first.

In the descent the breakaway is finally taken back while Saur-Sojasun is leading the peloton. That doesn't prevent Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) and Yukiya Arashiro (Team Europcar) to attack but their attempt is destined to fail and at 5 kilometers from the finish, Jacobs is the only rider leading the race. When he's also taken back in the winding part of the final of Cholet-Pays de Loire, it's time for the French Champion, Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar), to attack and to finish the race as a strong finisher, after having already won the Tour du Haut Var, a stage in the Tour Med and two stages in Paris-Nice 2011 of which one in exactly the same way. He was one of the biggest favourites in this race after his good performances early this season and the French Champion thus declared to be very happy with this victory which he took thanks to his courage.

The peloton's sprint was won by Tony Gallopin (Cofidis, le crédit en ligne) who finished 2nd, ahead of Benjamin Giraud (Vélo Club La Pomme Marseille).

More photos of Cholet-Pays de Loire 2011 will follow later in the Cholet-Pays de Loire 2011 photos section ...

The classification of Cholet-Pays de Loire 2011

The podium of Cholet-Pays de Loire 2011The top 10 of Cholet-Pays de Loire 2011 is as follows:

1/ Thomas Voeckler (Team Europcar) - 4h49'36"
2/ Tony Gallopin (Cofidis, le crédit en ligne)
3/ Benjamin Giraud (Vélo Club La Pomme Marseille)
4/ Mathieu Drujon (BigMat-Auber 93)
5/ Stéphane Poulhiès (Saur-Sojasun)
6/ James van Landschoot (Veranda's Willems-Accent)
7/ Jean-Luc Delpech (Bretagne-Schuller)
8/ Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Caja Rural)
9/ Fabien Bacquet (BigMat-Auber 93)
10/ Romain Hardy (Bretagne-Schuller)

door Thomas Vergouwen
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1 comment | 4246 views

this publication is published in: Cholet-Pays de Loire | Coupe de France


There are 1 comments!
  1. Excellente course et belle victoire de Thomas sur les terres de la Team Europcar (juste à côté). Un final comme il sait le faire et le tout sous un magnifique soleil printannier. La Primavera a tenu encore toutes ses promesses.

    | JP | Monday 21 March 2011 om 15h26

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