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Covering the technical 4.5km course in 5.45, Coquard beat last year’s winner Le Bon by five seconds in the Boucles de la Mayenne prologue; Boudat made it two Direct Energie riders on the podium

Photo: Sirotti








02.06.2016 @ 21:37 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) confirmed the excellent form he has shown recently by claiming a dominant victory in the Boucles de la Mayenne prologue. The Frenchman covered the technical 4.5km course in Laval in 5.45 which was a massive five seconds faster than last year’s prologue winner Johan Le Bon (FDJ) an 10 seconds faster than his teammate Thomas Boudat.


After a great start at Etoile de Besseges, Bryan Coquard’s season was put on hold when he crashed in training in February and had to skip Paris-Nice. However, he was back in action in the middle of March and if anybody thought that the crash would have slowed him down, these critics were silenced immediately.


Coquard was already competitive in his first races but it was still a surprise that he was just centimtres from winning one of the big semi-classics, Dwars door Vlaanderen, just four days after his comeback. The first win came at the Route Adelie Vitre on April 1 and since then he has been unstoppable.


Coquard won a stage at Circuit Cycliste Sarthe and then proved his great climbing skills by taking fourth in both Brabantse Pijl and Amstel Golad Race. He dominated the 4 Days of Dunkirk where he was in the top 2 in every stage and took a comfortable overall victory.


After a disappointing ride in California, Coquard is now back in Europe to fine-tune his condition for the Tour de France and today he proved that he is already in form for La Grande Boucle when he took a dominant win in the Boucles de la Mayenne prologue. The Frenchman made use of his good technical skills and great form to cover the technical 4.5km course in 5.45 which was a massive 5 seconds faster than last year’s prologue winner Johan Leb Bon who had to settle for second.


Knowing that the technical course suited him well, Coquard was the third last rider down the ramp and he knew that he faced a big challenge as Le Bon had just beaten his teammate Thomas Boudat by a massive five seconds. However, Coquard again proved his fantastic form as he was a massive five seconds faster than Le Bon and as the two final starters were not expected to pose any kind of threat, it was evident that he would win the stage. As expected neither Thomas Rostollan (Armee) nor Jonas Ahlstrand (Cofidis) were even close and so Coquard could celebrate his first ever time trial win at the pro level.


There was no repeat win for Le Bon who had to settle for second and now has to ride aggressively in the three road stages if he want to be in contention for the win. However, he will be up against a formidable Direct Energie team that also had both of its lead-out men, Thomas Boudat and Adrien Petit, in third and fifth respectively. Thomas Scully (Drapac) in fourth was the only non-French rider in the top 5.


However, Coquard faces some tough competition in the sprints as fello sprinters Danil McLay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) and Marc Sarreau (FDJ) both had top 10 rides and so remain inside striking distance. As opposed to this, there was disappointment for Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP) who was 14 seconds off the pace in 12th. There was also disappointment for Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural) who had to settle for 19th and TT specialists Mads Würtz Schmidt (Trekfor) and William Clarke (Drapac) who both failed to finish in the top 10.


With the win, Coquard now has a comfortable 5-second advantage over Le Bon as he goes into the first of the three road stages. He has a change to add to his lead in stage 1 which is expected to be for the sprinters and so should suit Coquard well. There are only four smaller climbs on the menu and as the stage wnd with four laps of a flat circuit, a bunch sprint is the very likely outcome.


A technical prologue

The 42nd edition of Boucles de la Mayenne kicked off with the traditional 4.5km in the city of Laval. The course was almost completely flat but has several corners which made it a technical affair.


It was a cloudy evening when Andreas Hyldgaard Jeppesen (Trefor) rolled down the ramp as the first rider. He stopped the clock in 6.20 but barely got to sit in the hot seat as Roman Maikin (Gazprom-Rusvelo) immediately went 2 seconds faster. Jason Lowndes (Drapac9) lowered the mark by another six seconds before Davide Vigano (Androni) became the fourth rider out of four to post the best time with 6.09.08.


McLay takes the lead

Otto Vergaerde (Topsport Vlaanderen) slotted into second with 6.11 but it was Andrea Pasqualon (Roth) who beat Vigano with a time of 6.07. He didn’t get much time in the hot seat though as Marc Sarreau (FDJ) became the first rider to go faster than six minutes as he stopped the clock in 5.59.


Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) showed that he will be one to watch this week when he went one second faster than Sarreau and Angelo Tulik (Direct Energie) also had a decent ride to slot into fourth with 6.08. He was only narrowly beaten by TT specialist Jordan Kerby (Drapac) who was just fractions of a second faster.


Good ride by Tusveld

Former stage winner in the race Eliot Lietaer (Topsport Vlaanderen) narrowly missed out on the top 3 with 6.07 but it was Johua Huppertz (Kuota-Lotto) who created a bit of a surprise by positing the third best time of 6.04. Jasper Bovenhuis (An Post) also made it into the top 10 as he posted the sixth best time of 6.07.


Jeremy Leveau (Roubaix) slotted into sixth with 6.08 before FDJ youngster Daniel Hoelgaard (FDJ) could make it into fourth with 6.05. However, it was another youngster, Martijn Tusveld (Rabobank), who got all the attention as missed out on a spot in the hot seat by just fractions of a second, having posted the second best time.


McLay moves into the hot seat

Julien Duval (Armee) confirmed the good form that he has shown recently by posting the fourth best time of 6.01 before Jens Mouris (Drapac) slotted into seventh with 6.06. Gairkoitz Bravo (Euskadi) became the next rider to make it into the top 10 with a time of 6.07 but he was pushed into 11th by sprinter Nicolas Vereecken (An Post) who moved into fifth with 6.05.


McLay’s time was finally beaten when Cees Bol (Rabobank) lowered the mark by two seconds, posting a new best time of 5.56. U23 world champion Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) briefly made it into the top 10 with 6.06.


Best time for Petit

Last year Adrien Petit (Direct Energie) won the Tour de Luxembourg prologue at this time of the year and he was keen to repeat the performance here. He lived up to expectations by reaching the finish in 5.55, going 0.59 second faster than Bol.


Florian Senechal (Cofidis) finished second in this stage two years ago but now his time of 6.03 was only good enough for a provisional seventh spot. It was slightly better than Peter Koning (Drapac) who posted the 8th best time and Stijn Steels (Topsport Vlaanderen) was just 0.14 second slower in 9th.


Scully takes surprise lead

Stan Godrie (Rabobank) made it into the top 10 with 6.04 before Benoit Jarrier (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) became the sixth rider to break the six-minute barrier as he slotted into sixth.  However, it was Thomas Scully (Drapac) who broke Petit’s dream of a stage victory as he went 0.6 second faster than the Frenchman to move into the lead.


Rudy Barbier (Roubaix) could make it into 9th with 6.01 but he was quickly pushed down by Yoann Offrwdo (FDJ) who was fractions of a second faster. Leonardo Duque (Delko) was even better as 6.00 was good enough for 8th.


Best time for Boudat

Scully’s hopes for a stage win were crushed by Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) who was just 0.03 second faster than the Australian. Gert Joeaar (Cofidis) was 3 seconds slower and had to settle for a provisional fifth place.


U23 world champion Mads Würtz Schmidt (Trefor) had to settle for 11th while specialist William Clarke (Drapac) could not even make it into the top 10 with 6.02. Marcel Meisen (Kuota) also narrowly missed out on the top 10 with 6.01 and the same happened for Jose Concalves (Caja Rural) who was fractions of a second slower.


Coquard wins the stage

Last year’s winner Le Bon seemed to be on track for a repeat win when he stopped the clock in 5.50 to go five seconds faster than Boudat. As opposed to this, Mathieu van der Poel (BKCP) was left disappointed as 5.59 was only good enough for 10th.


Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) was one second slower and so failed to make it into the top 10. However, it was Coquard that everybody was waiting for and the French sprinter fully lived up to expectations by lowering the mark by a massive five seconds. As neither Thomas Rostollan (Armee) nor Jonas Ahlstrand (Cofidis) were close, the French sprinter could step onto the podium to celebrate his win and put on the leader’s jersey



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