Sunday 02 February 2014 at 16h44

Like every year, the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise ended in a sprint in front of the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille today. We saw a very animated race which ended with the last breakaway rider, Mikaël Chérel (AG2R La Mondiale), being taken back in the last kilometer and Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) was the vainqueur winner in the sprint!

The summary of the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise 2014

The first European race, the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise 2014, started under a grey sky in front of the conseil général of the Bouches-du-Rhône department early this afternoon.

Rapidly a group of 5 riders got away from the peloton and we found a representative of the local team, the Team La Pomme Marseille, Thomas Vaubourzeix, together with Alexis Gougeard (AG2R La Mondiale), Frédéric Brun (BigMat-Auber 93), Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) and Mark McNally (An Post-ChainReaction).
While the last mentioned rider doesn't manage to keep up with the speed of the other four, they create a gap which reaches its maximum value after about 25 kilometers at 5'40" on the peloton in which we saw several chasing attempts which all remained without success.

While it briefly starts raining on the race, the gap swings between 4 minutes and 4'30" until the peloton accelerates to bring it down to 2'20" on the top of the first climb of the day, the "Petit Galibier" (which official name is Pas de la Couelle).

The gap continues to decrease and with the acceleration of the team at the front of the peloton it even breaks up in two. Feeling the threat of the first peloton in their back, the breakaway starts to get worried and also increases its speed a bit. That's too much for Frédéric Brun and a bit later Brice Feillu even manages to get rid of Vaubourzeix and Gougeard, who get in a group wiht Rémy Di Grégorio (Team La Pomme Marseille) who was chasing behind them.

In the climb of the Col de l'Espigoulier, closer to the previous one following the change in the race route the race situation changes and while initially a new group was formed at the lead of the race, the race can finally start all over again with the whole bunch back together while approaching the last climb of the day, towards Julhan les Bastides.

Mikaël ChérelIt is then Mikaël Chérel (AG2R La Mondiale)'s turn to attack and at 20 kilometers from the finish, the rider from Normandy created a gap of 1'25". He manages to stay ahead until the top of the Col de la Gineste, which does not count for the King of the Mountains classification, but in the descent a small group chasing behind him comes dangerously close and when he enters Marseille, Chérel has a 40 seconds gap on the peloton and 22 seconds on this small group. In this group we find his team mate Hubert Dupont Thibaut Pinot and Arthur Vichot for, Yannick Martinez (Team Europcar) and Romain Zingle (Cofidis, solutions crédits).

In the end, the peloton bridges the gap, first with this small group and then also with Mikaël Chérel qui who gave everything he had, and the victory thus gets decided in a bunch sprint, as usual. The Belgian rider Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) shows he's the strongest in this sprint and he thus wins this first race of the European season, his first pro victory! Baptiste Planckaert (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) ends at the second place behind his compatriot and ahead of Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale), who won this race 2 years ago.

The classifications of the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise 2014

Kenneth Vanbilsen wins the Marseillaise - © Bruno Bade / LNC
Here's the top 10 of the Marseillaise 2014:

1/ Kenneth Vanbilsen (Topsport Vlaanderen–Baloise) - 3h34'18"
2/ Baptiste Planckaert (Roubaix-Lille Métropole)
3/ Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale)
4/ John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Shimano)
5/ Arthur Vichot (
6/ Julien Simon (Cofidis, solutions crédits)
7/ Laurent Pichon (
8/ Peio Bilbao (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA)
9/ Evaldas Siskevicius (Team La Pomme Marseille)
10/ Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale)

>> full classification

The podium of the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise - © Kévin Colloc


King of the mountains classification

On 3 climbs in the race route, points were rewarded for the king of the mountains classification.

Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) won this classification by taking the first place on the Espigoulier after having taken the 3rd place on the Petit Galibier. He shares the same number of points with Mikaël Chérel (AG2R La Mondiale), who was the first on top of Julhan Les Bastides while he also took a 3rd place, on the Espigoulier.

Here's the full king of the mountains classification:

1/ Brice Feillu (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) - 8 points
2/ Mikaël Chérel (AG2R La Mondiale) - 8 points
3/ Frédéric Brun (BigMat-Auber 93) - 6 points
4/ Thomas Vaubourzeix (Team La Pomme Marseille) - 4 points
5/ Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Séché Environnement) - 4 points
6/ Dries Devenijns (Team Giant-Shimano) - 4 points
7/ Thomas Damuseau (Team Giant-Shimano) - 2 points

First classification of the Coupe de France PMU 2014

As the first race of the Coupe de France PMU, the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise of course also saw the first classification of this calendar of one day races being established:

1/ Baptiste Planckaert (Roubaix Lille Métropole) - 35 points
2/ Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale) - 25 points
3/ Arthur Vichot ( - 18 points
4/ Julien Simon (Cofidis, solutions crédits) - 16 points
5/ Laurent Pichon ( - 14 points
6/ Evaldas Siskevicius (Team La Pomme Marseille) - 10 points
7/ Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) - 8 points
8/ Yannick Martinez (Team Europcar) - 5 points
9/ Jean-Lou Paiani (Roubaix Lille Métropole) - 3 points

photo article illustration / sprint victory: © Bruno Bade / LNC

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise | Coupe de France


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