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"With 4k to go, there was a small climb where I almost crashed and unclipped. I stayed calm. Steve [Chainel] brought me back. Then I was on the wheel of Michael [van Staeyen]."

Photo: Sirotti




07.05.2015 @ 19:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Jonas Ahlstrand took his first win in the Cofidis jersey when he narrowly held off Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and Benjamin Giraud (Marseille) in am an extremely close bunch sprint on the second stage of the 4 Days of Dunkirk. Having jumped over a traffic island to move up in the technical finale, he launched a long sprint that was enough to open his account while Coquard extended the overall lead.


In his first few years as a professional, Jonas Ahlstrand has learnt the trade of sprinting at the Giant-Alpecin team which is famously known for their lead-out skills. Having mostly been riding in a support role, he got his occasional chance to sprint for himself and picked up a few wins along the way.


For the 2015 season, he decided to leave the German team to try his hand as a lead-out man for Nacer Bouhanni who was building a new train at the Cofidis team. In the first part of the year, he has been working tirelessly for his French captain but as the star rider was not at the start of this week’s Four Days of Dunkirk, he was selected as the protected sprinter for the race which usually has lot of opportunities for the fast men.


Today he got his first chance to sprint in the Cofidis jersey and he proved his potential right from the start by taking a very close solo victory. In a photo finish, he edged out Bryan Coquard and a very fast-finishing Benjamin Giraud by a very small margin to open his account in a technical downhill finish.


"I was in a good position on the final lap," he said. "We wanted to move up with 5k to go and we did that. I think the guys did a really good job. With 4k to go, there was a small climb where I almost crashed and unclipped. I stayed calm. Steve [Chainel] brought me back. Then I was on the wheel of Michael [van Staeyen]. I had to take the left side in the last roundabout. I was lucky. Coquard came on the right and I had to keep up. I had to go early because it was downhill and he came from behind. It was an okay sprint.


"I have to thank the team who did a great job to position me in the five kilometers.Coquard was in front of me before the last corner (about 400 meters from the finish), I made ​​a big effort to catch him and I passed him with 300 meters to go.


"In the absence of Nacer Bouhanni (currently training in the Vosges), we had two sprinters, Ahlstrand and Van Stayen," manager Yvon Sanquer told L'Equipe. "We also have Petit, but he is slower than the other two. Jonas is very agile, it was important in this finale with several roundabouts. Since the beginning of the season, he has not had any luck. He often crashed and was ill.


"It'll be a relief for him. He would not have been content with anything else than the win. And it's good that we won with another rider that Nacer."


In the finale, Adrien Petit took a huge turn to keep Cofidis in a good position.


"He sacrificed himself, Jonas owes him this victory," sports director Alain Deloueil said about Petit. 


"Everything went well," Petit said. "I was trying to join the break but Europcar did not leave any room for a Cofidis rider. Then i was focused on the sprint, and that's what we did." Conclusion of Sanquer 



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