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With a dominant performance in the 11.9km time trial, Jungels beat Gallopin and Felline by almost 20 seconds to win both the final stage and the Etoile de Besseges overall

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BOB JUNGELS

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ETOILE DE BESSÈGES

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FABIO FELLINE

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KRIS BOECKMANS

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TONY GALLOPIN

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TREK - SEGAFREDO

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08.02.2015 @ 17:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Bob Jungels (Trek) lived up to his status as the overwhelming favourite when he delivered a dominant performance to win the final time trial of the Etoile de Besseges. Over just 11.9km, he distanced Tony Gallopin (Lotto Soudal) and Fabio Felline (Trek) by more than 19 seconds and the performance was enough for him to win the race overall ahead of Gallopin and Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal).

 

Yesterday Bob Jungels made it clear that he was very confident that he would be able to win the final time trial of the Etoile de Besseges and maybe even steal the overall win on the final day of the race. The Luxembourger had been riding strongly in the first part of the race, finishing in the first group on the windy first day and taking bonus seconds in the sprint on stage 2.

 

Today he confirmed that he is in excellent condition right from the start of the year when he lived up to his own predictions by crushing the opposition on the 11.9km course that ended at the top of the short 2km climb of the Montee de l’Hermitage. Using his power on the flats and his great climbing skills, he managed to beat yesterday’s winner Tony Gallopin by 19 seconds. Jungels’ performance completed a domination of the Trek team as Fabio Felline and Riccardo Zoidl completed the top 4.

 

While he was never in doubt about his ability to win the final time trial, Jungels was more uncertain about his ability take the overall win as he went into the stage with time to make up on overall leader Edward Theuns (Topsport Vlaanderen). Not known as a time trial specialist, however, the young Belgian was unable to hold off the rivals and he dropped to fifth in the overall standings.

 

Instead, it was Jungels who took the win while Gallopin managed to move into second. Sprinter Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal) had a surprisingly good ride up the climb to defend his spot on the podium, making it two Lotto riders in the top 3.

 

After Jungels had done his ride, he faced a nervous wait but none of the final 17 riders were able to match him. His biggest rival was Gallopin but as most of the rest of the late starters were sprinters, no one got really close and the excitement was mostly about the overall win.

 

Theuns wons the points competition while Julien Loubet (Marseille) was the best climber. Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r) took the white jersey for best young rider while Trek won the teams classification.

 

With the Etoile de Besseges done and dusted and the Tour Mediteraneen cancelled, there is a small break in the French racing calendar which resumes in two weeks when the two-day Tour du Haut-Var takes place.

 

A tricky course

As it has been the case for the last few years, the Etoile de Besseges ended with an 11.9km time trial in Ales. The first part was completely flat but in the finale, the riders went up the steep 2km Montee de l’Hermitage.

 

After the cold start to the race, the riders got to do the time trial under pleasant conditions and it was Ivar Slik (Roompot) was the first rider down the ramp. He set a first mark of 20.54 but was quickly pushed out of the hot seat by Cesar Bihel (Auber 93) who set a time of 20.01.

 

Best time for Taciak

That mark was significantly lowered by Mateusz Taciak (CCC) whose time of 18.24 would see him lead the race for a long time. Carlos Ramirez (Colombia), Marek Rutkiewicz (CCC) and Pierre Rolland (Europcar) all took turns in moving into second but none of them were within a minute of the leading time.

 

Julien Antomarchi (Roubaix) was the first rider to break that mark when his time of 19.18 allowed him to move into second. However, it was Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) who posed the first real threat but his time of 18.45 was only good enough for second.

 

Zoidl takes the lead

Laurent Pichon (FDJ) was the next rider to move into second with a time of 18.40 before Taciak got a scare from Omar Fraile (Caja Rural) who set a time of 18.28, just 4 seconds off the mark.

 

Riccardo Zoidl (Trek) was one of the pre-race favourites and he became the rider to finally knock Taciak out of the hot seat. Stopping the clock in 18.01, he was significantly faster than the Pole. Momenths later, Brice Feillu (Bretagne) made use of the climb to post a time that was just fractions of a second faster than Taciak’s.

 

Felline moves into the hot seat

Rudy Molard (Cofidis) moved into fourth with a solid performance on the climb but all eyes were on Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne) who was one of the big favourites. However, the Argentinean’s time of 18.19 was only good enough for second.

 

Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r) was the first rider for a long time to crack the top 5 as Zoidl faced his long nervous wait. When he was finally beaten, it was one of his teammates who did so as Fabio Felline went less than a second faster than the Austrian.

 

Disappointment for Hivert

Frederik Backaert (Wanty) confirmed his good form by slotting into the top 10 but it was Hugo Houle (Ag2r) who was now in the spotlight. The Canadian who finished third in the San Luis TT stopped the clock in 18.15 which was good enough for third.

 

Jonathan Hivert (Bretagne) is a past winner of this stage but his time of 18.12 was only good enough to push Houle down from the provisional podium. Instead, it was Ag2r climber Pierre-Roger Latour who created a surprise when his time of 18.06 allowed him to move into third.

 

Jungels takes the lead

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was looking to use the stage as a good test and he did well by slotting into fifth while Pello Bilbao (Caja Rural) did well to move into the top 10. However, Jungels had now hit the course and it was no surprise to see him post a time of 17.40 to make it three Trek riders on the provisional podium.

 

With a time of 18.26, Bryan Coquard (Europcar) confirmed his good condition but he was nearly passed by Gallopin who stopped the clock in 17.59 to break the Trek dominance. Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r) had a good ride with 18.19 while Cyril Gautier (Europcar) was slightly faster with 18.17.

 

Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal) had a surpringsingly good ride with a time of 18.13 and when Theuns crossed the line in a time of 18.30, Jungels was crowned winner of both the stage and the race.

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