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After his team had controlled the race all day, Coquard took his first win since his crash in February by winning the uphill sprint at the Route Adelie Vitré; Venturini was second and Dumoulin took third

Photo: Sirotti

BRYAN COQUARD

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DIRECT ENERGIE

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ROUTE ADÉLIE DE VITRÉ

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SAMUEL DUMOULIN

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NEWS
01.04.2016 @ 19:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) confirmed that he is already back in great condition after he broke his collarbone in a crash in February by taking his first win since the injury at the Coupe de France race, Route Adelie Vitré. After briefly having attacked on the finishing circuit, he won the uphill sprint ahead of Clement Venturini (Cofidis) and Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) while Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie) extended his overall lead in the series.

 

Bryan Coquard seemed to be on track for a fantastic season when he kicked off his season by winning the first two stages of the Etoile de Besseges. Showing how much he has improved during the winter, he beat his rivals by several bike lengths and people were looking forward to seeing him going up against the best sprinters of the world.

 

Unfortunately, his season came to an abrupt halt just before the Ruta del Sol when he crashed while preparing for the Spanish race. The injuries left him out of competition for more than a month before he returned to action less than two weeks ago at Classic Loire Atlantique.

 

Many had expected that it would take some time for him to return to form but Coquard had different plans. Only four days after his first race, he was agonizingly close to a first win at Dwars door Vlaanderen where Jens Debusschere only passed him metres from the line at a time when the Frenchman had already started to celebrate. Two days later he featured in the finale of E3 Harelbeke and he showed good form in the hard Gent-Wevelgem too.

 

The results made him the big favourite for today’s fourth round of the Coupe de France race series which he already won two years ago and he didn’t disappoint the pundits. After a dominant performance of his Direct Energie team which controlled the race with the Wallonie team of recent Tour de Normandie winner Baptiste Planckaert, he again came out on top in the uphill sprint in Vitré.

 

Direct Energie had caught the break relatively early and set a fast pace that made it hard for anyone to attack as they tackled the eight laps of the 8.9km finishing circuit. Anthony Perez (Cofidis) took over the pace-setting at the start of the penultimate lap and he easily neutralized an attack from a Fortuneo Vital Concept rider.

 

Laurent Pichon (FDJ), Julien Bérard (AG2R La Mondiale), Loïc Chetout (Cofidis) and Clément Koretzky (Vorarlberg) managed to escape and build an advantage of 10 seconds but it was impossible to deny the Direct Energie team. They were brought back before the start of the final lap.

 

Thomas Voeckler controlled things for Direct Energie at the penultimate passage of the line, trying to set up Coquard for the sprint when the sprinter suddenly joined a four-rider attack with Cyril Gautier (Ag2r, Pichon and his teammate Angelo Tulik. Thomas Lebas (Bridgestone-Anchor) made the junction but with little cooperation, the move was doomed.

 

Gautier made a desperate attempt to deny the sprinters with a late attack but with 1500m to go, it was all back together. From there, Direct Energie did everything right to set Coquard up for the sprint and he easily relegated Clement Venturini and Samuel Dumoulin to the minor podium positions.

 

Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie) could only manage seventh but it was enough to extend his lead in the Coupe de France where he has a 24-point advantage over Coquard, Rudy Barbier, Anthony Turgis and Dries Devenyns. The next round of the series will be held on Sunday when the riders will tackle the famous Paris-Camembert semi-classic.

 

A circuit race

The 21st edition of the Route Adelié Vitre was held as a 197.8km circuit race around the city of Vitré. First the riders did six laps of a big 21.1km circuit on the northern outskirts that included the early climb of Cote de la Cheneliere and the late climb of Cote de Perouse just 3.7km from the uphill finishing straight. The final part of the race consisted of 8 laps of a smaller 8.9km circuit that again included the Cote de la Chesneliere after 3.8km. From there, the terrain was rolling until the riders descended to the bottom of the 300m finishing straight that was slightly uphill.

 

It was a fantastic spring day when the riders gathered for the start and as most races do at the moment, they started the day by observing one minute of silence in honour of Antoine Demoitie and Dann Myngheer. All 130 riders that had been registered for the race were present as they rolled out for their neutral ride.

 

Three riders get clear

Coupe de France races are known for being extremely aggressive but this time the start was surprisingly calm. After just 9km of racing, the trio of Peter Koning (Drapac), Kevin Lebreton (Armee) and Manuel Schreiber (Vorarlberg) were already 1.35 ahead of the peloton while Martin Kohler (Drapac) was in lone pursuit at 45 seconds. While they continued to increase their advantage over the peloton, they didn’t wait for Kohler who continued to lose time. At the end of the first lap, he was 1.55 behind and decided to wait for the peloton which had been distanced by 3.30.

 

The peloton was in no hurry and after 30 km of racing, they had allowed the gap to go out to 5.50. In fact, the pace was so slow that they hadn’t even caught Kohler yet even though the Swiss was waiting, Meanwhile, the gap continued to grow and was 7.00 at the end of the second lap.

 

Direct Energie and Wallonie in control

The peloton started to chase when Jeremy Cornu (Direct Energie) and Jonathan Dufrasne (Wallonie) hit the front but they were not going fast yet. At the 45km mark, they were 7.40 behind the leaders while Kohler was still 2.05 ahead. The Swiss was finally brought back after 50km of racing.

 

It was Baptiste Planckaert’s Wallonie team that upped the pace and as Cornu lent Dufrasne a hand, the gap started to come down. At the end of the third lap, it was down to 7.00 and when the Colombian Postobon Manzana team upped the pace even further, it was only 6.05 at the 75km mark.

 

Direct Energie up the pace

The Colombians again left it to Dufrasne to set the pace and while Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie) punctured and Jeremy Maison (FDJ) crashed, he kept the gap around 6 minutes until Cornu again came to the fore to lend him a hand. Jean-Marc Bideau (Fortuneo-Vital Concept) also started to chase and the three teams mad brought the gap down to 4.04 at the end of the fourth lap.

 

The chase got more organized in the final lap of the big circuit when Romain Sicard and Perrig Quemeneur upped the pace for Direct Energie. That had a big effect and as they started the first lap of the small circuit, the escapees were only 2.40 ahead.

 

The break is caught

Direct Energie were in complete control and had reduced the gap to 1.35 at the end of the first lap and they easily brought a Fortuneo Vital Concept rider back when he tried a solo move. When the gap was down to 1.15, the Fortuneo team changed tactic and started to chase until Direct Energie again took over.

 

At the end of the second lap, the catch was imminent as the gap was only 20 seconds and as they started the next lap, the escapees were brought back almost immediately. This only opened the door for new attacks and it was the Ag2r team that tried to control things.

 

A dangerous group

The fast pace took its toll as Kevin Ledanois (Fortuneo Vital Concept), Martin Laas (Delko Marseille) and Hiroshi Tsubaki (Bridgestone-Anchor) were dropped while Cyril Gautier (Ag2r) took off in a solo move. Just after starting the fourth lap, he was brought back and it was Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) who put the peloton in a long line.

 

While Clement Koretzky (Vorarlberg) punctured, Rossetto set a fast pace that made it impossible for anyone to escape until Flavian Dassonville (Auber 93) took off. Daniele Ratto (Androni Giocattoli), Arnaud  Gérard (Fortuneo Vital Concept), Rayanae Bouhanni (Cofidis), Romain Combaud (Delko Marseille), Alexis Bodiot (Army) and Baptiste Planckaert (Wallonie Bruxelles ) joined him but they were brought back at the end of the fifth lap.

 

Direct Energie were again in control and they set a fast pace for the entire sixth lap, keeping things together as they started the penultimate lap. In the end, their effort paid off as Coquard won the race in an uphill sprint.

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