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"As we look towards the decisive time trial on the final day, it is good that Thibaut is already in a good position and collectively FDJ was already much better than we were lastt Sunday in La Marseillaise."

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ARNAUD COURTEILLE

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ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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THIBAUT PINOT

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04.02.2015 @ 23:23 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The wind was blowing hard in the morning at the first stage of the Etoile de Bessèges. Throughout the 153.5km, the race was marred by echelons and attacks before Belgian Boeckmans (Lotto-Soudal) took the win but Thibaut Pinot and his FDJ were part of the action. At the front all day, Arnaud Courteille took seventh place.

 

Alexis Gougeard (Ag2R-La Mondiale) was the first to attack at km 5 and he was soon joined by 26 riders, including Arnaud Courteille and Steve Morabito who had not been able to train for three days because of a virus and fever.

 

This group had an advantage of 2.10 at the 41km mark before the peloton reacted. In a new windy section, Thibaut Pinot, Kevin Reza and Marc Sarreau made a further acceleration and returned to the front as part of a 26-rider group.

 

"Just before the junction, Gougeard anticipated and brought twelve riders with him, including Arnaud Courteille who was always vigilant," sports director Yvon Madiot said. "At that time, Thibaut and his teammates needed a small breather but they still worked in the final to minimize the gap. Boeckmans won and Arnaud who was very courageous, finished seventh. He starts his season well. Marc Sarreau (14th) who has good legs won the bunch sprint 17 seconds later and three other team members missed a small split, losing 21 seconds. As we look towards the decisive time trial on the final day, it is good that Thibaut is already in a good position and collectively FDJ was already much better than we were lastt Sunday in La Marseillaise."

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