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Thomas Degand left Wanty with a big present when he won Stage 1 of the Tour du Gevaudan after beating his companions from a late attack, Amets Txurruka and Boris Dron. He also gets the first leaders jersey.

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AMETS TXURRUKA

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27.09.2014 @ 16:09 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Thomas Degand, who is rumoured to have signed for IAM for next year, left Wanty with a big present when he won Stage 1 of the Tour du Gevaudan after beating his companions from a late attack, Amets Txurruka and Boris Dron. He also gets the first leaders jersey.

 

Right from the gun Gregory Tarride (La Pomme Marseille) came out of the pack followed by Julian Kern (AG2R La Mondiale) and Yannick Mayer (Bike Aid). The peloton were forty seconds behind but a high pace in the bunch led to another regroupment.

 

This prompted a counter attack from Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché) who was joined by Wallonie-Bruxelles rider Boris Dron. The pair worked well and quickly gained an advantage of 2’25. Meanwhile news came through of a DNS for Voralberg’s Dennis Wauch.

 

Kevin Seeldraeyers of Wanty then attacked from the peloton as the break hit the first category Col de Finiels. He remained at 58 seconds from the break but 32 seconds clear of the bunch.

 

Then a big attack came from within the pelton, leading to 21 riders breaking free of the bunch, including Thibaut Pinot, Alexis Vuillermoz and Kenny Elissonde.

 

Dron took the first intermediate sprint ahead of Perichon then Seeldraeyers and Veikkanen.

 

The acceleration took the group up to the breakaway by the end of the descent and this when everything had settled down, there were 22 men out front: Bagot, and Hardy Edet (Cofidis), Vuillermoz and Dupont (AG2R La Mondiale), Pinot and Elissonde (FDJ.fr) Jeandesboz, Médérel, Tulik and Voeckler (Europcar) Laborie, Laengen and Périchon (Bretagne), Arroyo, Txurruka, Bilbao and Madrazo (Caja Rural), Di Gregorio (La Pomme Marseille), Seeldraeyers (Gobert Wanty-Group), Vimpère (Bigmat - Auber 93) and Belda (Burgos BH).

 

However, the group rode poorly together and this forced an attack from Bagot, Pinot, Voeckler, Laengen, Txurruka and Madrazo. They gained 50 seconds on the second group. Who were now 40 due to riders who had chased back on after that hectic climb and descent.

 

The 6 men’s advantage continued to grow and with 60km remaining they ha a gap of just under two minutes with AG2R and La Pomme Marseille chasing.

 

The 6 men’s advantage began to decrease and at the foot of the first category Col de Cabrunas, Thibaut Pinot attacked and only Angel Madrazo could follow him, with Txurruka sitting 15 seconds behind followed by the remaining trio and then the peloton, who had reduced to about 20 men on the climb.

 

Voeckler, defending champion Bagot and Laengen were reabsorbed by the peloton as Txurruka unsurprisingly lost even more time to the duo, now he was 30 seconds down.

 

Madrazo beat Pinot to the summit, with Txurruka still chasing the duo and Dupont and Vuillermoz led the peloton over the climb to take the remaining points. 

 

Realizing the game was up, Txurruka decided to sit up and wait for the peloton. Defending champion Bagot, who had said at the start that he was tired from the Vuelta and lacked form, was dropped from the peloton.

 

The two men upfront began to lose their advantage under the impetus from Europcar and they only had 35 seconds with as many kilometers to go. The two attackers were brought back at the foot of the day’s final climb, the second category Col de la Nojarede and almost immediately, Thomas Voeckler launched another attack.

 

However, Voeckler’s attack was fleeting and he was soon back in the pack and then promptly dropped from it. Vuilermoz and Marcos Garcia of Caja Rural launched the next attack and maintained a 9 second advantage over the summit as Garcia took the points. Elissonde led the bunch over ahead of Edet and Pinot. However, the attackers were caught before the descent was over, leaving the front group comprising of about 20 riders.

 

Things looked to have settled down as there was no movement for bout 10km but then, with just under 20km to go, Amets Txurruka launched another attack. He was eventually joined by Thomas Degand and Dron to make a leading trio with 10km to go and they had a good gap of 25 seconds.

 

Things were looking goo for the trio at this point as they had 35 seconds with 7km to go.

 

Heading into the final kilometer, the gap was still comfortable and Degand comfortably beat Txurruka and Dron, as he was the only one not involved in an earlier attack, something the other two may regret.

 

Dron couldnt stay with the leaders and finished 6 seconds down. Christophe Laborie beat Pello Bilbao to win the bunch sprint 28 seconds down on Degand. He leads the race overall too.

 

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