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"Arnaud Courteille also crashed but he was lucky. He saw the riders crash next to himbut no one touched him. He got away with a lot of grease on the shorts.”

Photo: Sirotti

ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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06.02.2015 @ 14:08 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The second stage of Etoile de Bessèges took place under big controversy with lots of disagreement in the peloton. It ended in chaos and the victory of the young Belgian Roy Jans (Wanty Group Gobert) after a big crash occurred less than two kilometers from the finish. The FDJ team only had one reason to be satisfied: none of their riders were hurt.

 

Due to a storm that blew along the Mediterranean coast, the peloton faced strong winds early in the stage. The pace was very slow (only 29km were covered in the first hour) and riders protested as they feared for their safety.

 

The peloton stopped three times to ask for a late race circuit to be removed before they finally decided to do the entire stage.

 

"It's true,” says FDJ sports director Yvon Madiot. “The wind was really strong in the early part of the stage. All kinds of objects were thrown on the road but it calmed down and the conditions became normal for a cycling race. The organizers wanted the race to continue. While some big teams wanted to stop, others were determined to continue.”

 

Those teams included the new Team Roompot that sent their young rider Tim Kerkhof on the attacked. When the peloton again started to work, the Dutchman was five minutes ahead.  Ag2R-La Mondiale initiated the chase before their rider Hugo Houle and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) took action with 44km to go.

 

11 kilometers from the finish, the escapees were caught and FDJ took command of operations in order to set up their sprinter Mark Sarreau.

 

"My riders may have started a little early , says Madiot. “Lotto-Soudal took over in the last three kilometers, but their sprinter and race leader Kris Boeckmans was caught in a big crash with Bryan Coquard (Europcar ). Arnaud Courteille also crashed but he was lucky. He saw the riders  crash next to himbut no one touched him. He got away with a lot of grease on the shorts.”

 

The sprint was impacted by the crash. Jans took the win while Marc Sarreau was forced to brake and finished 12th. Boeckmans retained his leader’s jersey before the third stage which ends in Bessèges.

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