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Usually the loyal domestique, Keisse got a rare chance to lead OPQS in today’s Chateauroux Classic de l’Indre and he grabbed the opportunity by beating Feillu and Jans in the bunch sprint

Photo: OPQS / Tim De Waele






24.08.2014 @ 18:59 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Iljo Keisse (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) got a rare chance to ride for himself in today’s French one-day race Chateauroux Classic de l’Indre. The Belgian grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he beat Romain Feillu (Bretagne) and Roy Jans (Wanty) in a bunch sprint.


Iljo Keisse is known as a loyal domestique who works tirelessly for his Omega Pharma-Quick Step teammates and he rarely gets a chance to chase a personal result. Today he was given an opportunity on the French one-day race Chateauroux Classic de l’Indre which is part of the prestigious Coupe de France race series.


The race is almost completely flat and is usually decided in a bunch sprint and the 2014 edition was no exception. Despite not being known as a sprinter, Keisse showed his speed when he held off Romain Feillu and Roy Jans to take his first win since the 2012 season.


The 11th edition of the Chatearoux Classic de l’Indre took place on a 203.8km course that started and finished in Chateauroux. The riders had to tackle three smaller climbs along the way but the only real challenge was the wind in a race that is usually dominated by sprinters.


Davide Vigano (Caja Rural) didn’t take the start as the riders headed out under pleasant weather conditions. Despite the race being expected to suit the sprinters, the start was extremely and the riders covered more than 50km before the break was finally formed.


During those hectic kilometres, the peloton split several times and several big breakaways were formed but for a long time no one managed to get clear. Romain Guillemous (Europcar), Kevin Van Melsen (Wanty) and Jean-Chirstophe Peraud (Ag2r) were among the many riders to try their hand but when the elastic finally snapped, it was Julien El Fares (La Pomme), Angel Madrazo (Caja Rural), Nikolay Mihaylov (CCC) and Damien Monier (Bridgestone) who had made it into the ove.


The peloton slowed down and allowed the gap to reach three minutes. They briefly accelerated over the day’s first climb where El Fares took maximum points before again allowing the gap to grow.


It reached a maximum of 5.20 and for a long time Roubaix and Androni kept it stable around the 5-minute mark. Meanwhile, Madrazo won the second KOM sprint.


Colombia now started to chase and they got some assistance from Simone Ponzi (Neri Sottoli). With 67km to go, they had brought the gap down to 3 minutes where it was kept stable for some time.


Inside the final 50km, the peloton accelerated and with 36km to go, the escapees were only 1.45 ahead. It was now Androni and Colombia setting the pace and with 15km to go, they had brought things back together.


Jeremy Roy now set the pace for FDJ while a big crash brought down lots of riders. With 7km to go, Nico Denz (Ag2r) attacked and he crossed the line for the penultimate time believing he had won the race.


The pace was now very fast as all was set for a bunch sprint but Kevyn Ista (IAM) tried to break the predicted script. It wasn’t to be though and instead Keisse took a sprint victory.


Many of the riders in today’s race will be back in action on Tuesday when the four-day stage race Tour du Poitou-Charentes starts.



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