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"I was able to get ahead of Nacer (Bouhanni) by a few lengths. I almost had time to celebrate before the line. It was a really intense pleasure to cross the finish line first."

Photo: Vacansoleil-DCM

ROMAIN FEILLU

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ROUTE ADÉLIE DE VITRÉ

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03.04.2015 @ 22:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Romain Feillu (Bretagne) confirmed that he still has the speed to win big bunch sprints when he emerged as the strongest in the uphill sprint in the Route Adelie Vitré. The Frenchman denied Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) his first win for his new team by beating him into second while Timothy Dupont (Roubaix) completed the podium.

 

In a magical 2011 season, Romain Feillu seemed destined for a big future as he achieved several top results, including a very solid performance in the Tour de France. Since then, however, the fast Frenchman has been unable to get back to the same level and he has been forced to drop down from the WorldTour level.

 

Last year he returned to France when he signed a contract with the Bretagne team. However, his first season with his new team was no big success as he only managed to win a single race, a stage of the 2.2 Ronde de l’Oise.

 

This year Feillu has got more internal competition in the role as lead sprinter for the French team which have signed both Yauheni Hutarovich and Daniel McLay for the fast finishes. While Feillu has had another slow start to the year, those two sprinters have both won races and the pressure has been building for the fast Frenchman.

 

Today he relieved himself from a big burden when he opened his account by winning the fourth round of the Coupe de France race series, Route Adelie Vitre. He excelled in the uphill sprint where he managed to take his first win in a bigger race since 2011.

 

"In the end, I realized that there was a strong chance that the race would be decided in a sprint," he told Directvelo. "This uphill sprint was fine for me. I  still had to beat Nacer Bouhanni but he rode in front all day. And this Route Adélie was special with the rain for 192 kilometers. Inevitably it wears you down but not me. I was able to get ahead of Nacer (Bouhanni) by a few lengths. I almost had time to celebrate before the line. It was a really intense pleasure to cross the finish line first. 

 

"There was a strong Bretagne team in this race. Pierrick (Fedrigo) still had good legs. Christophe (Laborie) and Armindo (Fonseca) were also well placed in this Route Adélie. For ranking purposes, it's good for the teams classification in the Coupe de France. Regarding the individuals however, the Coupe de France is not necessarily a goal since I will not do every round. It will be very complicated. Now, my next race will be Scheldeprijs on Wednesday."

 

Earlier in the race his teammate Christophe Laborie had been on the attack. The Frenchman was caught metres from the line and even finished the race in fourth.

 

"It came tough today," he told Directvelo. "First we had Benoît (Jarrier) in a first group of three riders. Behind, I managed to join a counter-attack to get to the front. We did a lap with six guys in front. We got caught by a new group of attackers on the last lap. We were a dozen at the front of the race. Thomas Voeckler attacked five kilometers from the finish into a headwind. Behind, we continued to ride well together. 

 

"Finally, we were able to catch him at the bottom the last climb three kilometers from the line. There were two new attacks. Then I tried to counter. I found myself alone in front. I gave everything to the end. I thought that if I could take the the last corner with a lot of speed, it could be enough, especially as it was now dry. I stood on the pedals until 400m remained. Everyone was screaming! But I was caught 100m from the finish. I'm glad that Romain (Feillu) wins. In a sense, it was a little revenge.

 

"Personally, I was happy with my feelings. I must say that I come from a good Tour of Catalonia. This is probably also why I had good legs in the finale. Now I'm going to the Scheldeprijs and will also do Paris-Roubaix. I hope to continue to get better until the Tro Bro Leon."

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