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"This success is very interesting if you look at it with a view towards the Ardennes classics that I will do this year. What makes me most happy is to see that I can manage all kinds of sprints. My size allows me to be aerodynamic in t...

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BRYAN COQUARD

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ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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08.02.2014 @ 21:18 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bryan Coquard (Europcar) proved that he is much more than a pure sprinter when he survived the climbs and beat John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) in the tough uphill sprint at the end of the queen stage of the Etoile de Besseges. Having prevailed in such a tough stage, the youngster is now looking forward to his first encounter with the Ardennes classics.

 

During his very successful first professional season, Bryan Coquard may have mostly excelled in the sprints but today he proved that he is a much more versatile. In the queen stage of the Etoile de Besseges, he survived two late passages of the Mur de Laudun and finally emerged victorious in the tough uphill sprint to take his second win in a row.

 

Europcar played a dominant role by putting Romain Sicard into the daylong breakaway that almost made it to the finish. When he was caught inside the final kilometre, the team decided to play the Coquard card and came away with their second win of the season.

 

"The team has done a great job," Coquard told Directvelo at the finish. "With Romain [Sicard] who was caught at the flamme rouge, Europcar have done a near-perfect race. The least we can do is to reward the team with a victory."

 

Already in last year's Grand Prix de Quebec, Coquard proved that he can handle rather hilly terrain. Compared to most other sprinters, he is rather smaller and he is confident that he can excel in a much wider range of races.

 

Today's result motivates him ahead of challenge that is rather unique for a sprinter.

 

"This success is very interesting if you look at it with a view towards the Ardennes classics that I will do this year," he said. "What makes me most happy is to see that I can manage all kinds of sprints. My size allows me to be aerodynamic in the flat sprints and I can count my power-to-weight ratio in finishes like this."

 

Today's result has elevated Coquard into 4th on GC where he now sits 14 seconds off the overall lead of Sander Helven (Topsport Vlaanderen). The race will be decided in tomorrow's 10.7km uphill time trial but the Frenchman plays down the expectations.

 

"I will do the time trial without pressure," he said. "If it was a prologue, I would not rule anything out. But this is a bit too long. I don't expect a miracle."

 

Coquard is only doing the Etoile de Besseges for the second time but with today's win, he already has 4 stage wins on his palmares. However, there is still some way to go before he is the most successful rider ever in the race which is held for the 44th time.

 

"Last night I saw that I could become the French record holder of stage victories in Besseges," he said. "That's fine but I'm still far from Jaan Kirsipuu and his thirteen victories. Maybe I could catch him one day, I still have time..."

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