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25-year-old Cofidis rider puts in a strong attack inside the final 2 km to win ahead of Hutarovich









16.03.2013 @ 18:45 Posted by Jesper Johannesen

Edwig Cammaerts (Cofidis) managed to foil the sprinters with a well-timed attack inside the final 2 km in the Classique Loire Atlantique. He held off the fast-charging peloton to win ahead of Yauheni Hutarovich (Ag2r) and Laurent Pichon (FDJ).


There were plenty of tired legs in the sprinter's lead-out trains after a strong 17-man break had forced them to chase hard throughout another long, cold and rainy day in Europe. Just as they had managed to break back the final escapee, most thought that the fast-men had everything under control.


They were, however, foiled by a gutsy acceleration from young Edwig Cammaerts who burst of the peloton and held off the fastest finishers to finally take the first victory of his professional career. The young Belgian managed to cross the finish line 7 seconds ahead of a drastically reduced main group containing only 23 riders.


A dangerous 17-man break goes clear

The 184,8 km race consisted of 11 laps of a 16,8 km circuit containing 3 smaller climbs. With the last one topping out just 1,1 km from the finish, the race has traditionally suited strong sprinters and powerful attackers.


Once again the European weather did not show any signs of spring. The riders were in for another wet, cold and windy day which ended up forcing plenty of riders to abandon.


After an attacking start, the teams with any sprint ambitions did not make it any easier for themselves to control the race. In a number of steps they let a strong 17-man group slip off the front and build up a 1 minute gap. The break consisted of Yannick Martinez (La Pomme Marseille), Johan Le Bon (FDJ), David Boucher (FDJ), Tony Hurel (Europcar), Cyril Bessy (Cofidis), Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Maxime Mederel (Sojasun), Fabien Schmidt (Sojasun), Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Seche), Marco Frapporti (Androni Giocattoli), Ruben Fernandez (Caja Rural), Javier Moreno (Caja Rural), Matthias Brandle (IAM), Tom Van Asbroeck (Topsport Vlaanderen), Gijs Van Hoecke (Topsport Vlaanderen), Flavien Dassonville (Bigmat-Auber 93) and Cyrille Patoux (Roubaix).


Champion System had missed the break, and so Matthew Brammeier tried to chase down the break. Unsuccessful in the attempt, his team had to take on the chasing responsibility in the pack with the assistance of another team to miss out, For a long time, they managed to keep the gap stable between the 1 and 2 minute marks.


The race is almost lost

The hard chasing and harsh conditions forced plenty of riders to drop off the peloton which was gradually reduced in size throughout the day. Running short of manpower, Champion System tried one last desperate attempt to get back into contention with an acceleration from teammates Brammeier and Clinton Avery, but they were quickly brought back.


With Champion System and having used up their domestiques and most teams represented in the front group, the gap started to grow quickly, and for a moment it looked as if the race was over for all but the 17 riders in the break.


Jean-Marc Bideau was, however, dropped from the escape, and as a consequence Bretagne-Seche was no longer represented in the front group. A number of their riders took of the chasing duties in the peloton, and the gap - which had topped at 4 minutes - was quickly brought back.


At the front Ruben Fernandez was dropped and Marco Frapporti punctured out of the lead group. Suddenly, Androni were also no longer represented at the head of the race, and they also started to contribute to the chase effort.


The break splits up

With the gap approaching the 1-minute mark, the riders started to attack each other at the front. Bessy was to first to try, and through a number of accelerations the group was gradually broken down. With 20 km to go, only Martinez, Boucher, Le Bon and Moreno remained in front with a 20 seconds gap on the peloton. All of their escape companions had been picked up by the peloton.


Sensing the inevitable capture, Le Bon attacked and was joined by Martinez. In impressive fashion, they managed to hold off the peloton for several km. Le Bon was finally dropped and caught inside the final 10 km of the race, and with FDJ no longer represented in the front, Benoit Vaugrenard (FDJ) burst out of the peloton. He joined up with Martinez to put new energy into the escape, but with just 3 km remaining both riders were caught.


Cofidis were now at the head of the small peloton and looked to set up their sprinter Adrien Petit who had returned after an earlier crash. On the last climb inside the final 2 km, Cammaerts managed, however, to escape the peloton. With an impressive solo effort he held off the surviving members of the depleted peloton to the first victory of his career.


Hutarovich beat Pichon, Omar Bertazzo (Androni Giocattoli) and Justin Jules (La Pomme Marseille) in the sprint for the final podium places.



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