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Frenchman emerges on the strongest from reduced field and beats Simon and Parrinello in the sprint at the end of a very aggressive stage in hilly terrain

Photo: Sirotti






22.08.2013 @ 18:13 Posted by Mathias Overgaard Poulsen

Matthieu Ladagnous (FDJ) has come close to a win on a number of recent occasions and today he finally got first across the line when he won the queen stage of the Tour du Limousin. The Frenchman survived the day's many climbs and beat Julien Simon (Sojasun) and Antonino Parrinello (Androni) in the final sprint while Martin Elmiger (IAM) defended his lead with just one stage still remaining.


Matthieu Ladagnous has had a highly successful season so far with a number of strong performances in the classics and today he continued his strong showing when he won the queen stage of the Tour du Limousin. Having crashed early in the stage, he remounted and hid in the peloton for most of the stage while attacks kept being launched on the hilly and uncontrollable stage.


When Giovanni Visconti (Movistar) was reeled in inside the final 10km, all was set for a sprint between the few remaining riders in the peloton. Ladagnous was the fastest as he beat Julien Simon and Antonino Parrinello to take just the most recent in what has been a long string of FDJ wins on home soil.


Martin Elmiger had used his IAM team to keep things under control in the tough terrain and the Swiss finished safely in the bunch to defend his jersey. Tomorrow's stage is slightly easier but still characterized by the hilly terrain that is prevalent in Limousin and so nothing will be decided until the very end.


The queen stage

The 182,9km stage was up or down all the way and contained a very steep 11% climb just 26km from the finish. IAM was expected to come under fierce attack in what was the best opportunity to unseat race leader Elmiger.


The start was extremely fast as repeated attacks were launched. Julien Duval (Roubaix), Arthur Vichot (FDJ), Axel Domont (Ag2r), Rob Ruijgh (Vacansoleil), Sebastien Reichenback (IAM), Julien Fouchard (Cofidis) and Evaldas Siskevicius (Sojasun) were all part of the early action and the fast tempo forced many riders to lose contact with the peloton.


A big group goes clear

A very strong group containing Alexandre Pichot (Europcar), Jérémy Roy (FDJ), Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale), Gorka Izaguirre (Euskaltel), Guillaume Levarlet (Cofidis), Cyril Lemoine, Jean-Marc Marino (Sojasun), Thomas Lövkvist (IAM), Jesus Herrada, Angel Mandrazo (Movistar), Stijn Steels (Crelan Euphony), Nicola Boem (Bardiani) and Geoffroy Lequatre (Bretagne Séché) went up the road and that forced the peloton to chase hard. For a long time, the two groups were involved in a tight battle but ultimately the peloton came out on top. Levarlet and Lemoine both tried to prolong their escape but finally it ended up coming back together.


On the day's first categorized climb, KOM leader Frederic Brun (Ag2r) and Theo Vimpere (BigMart) attacked while Frans Claes (Crelan) set off in pursuit. Finally, the peloton slowed down and allowed the front duo open up a gap.


A trio is formed

The escapees decided to wait for Claes and so a front trio was formed. Their advantage grew to more than 5 minutes when IAM decided to stabilize the gap.


As the riders approached the second categorized climb, the peloton accelerated and the gap came down quickly. Thomas Voeckler (Europcar), Geoffroy Lequatre (Bretagne), Stijn Steels (Creland) and Rudy Molard (Cofidis) tried to bridge across but had no success.


Voeckler continues aggressive showing

Voeckler refused to give up and so he launched a new attack. This time he was joined by Christophe Laborie (Sojasun), Wesley Kreder (Vacansoleil) and Thomas Vaubourzeix (La Pomme) and they joined the front trio which was now less than a minute behind.


Giovanni Visconti (Movistar), Maurits Lammertink (Vacansoleil) and Perrig Quemeneur (Europcar) also managed to bridge across and the new front group started to cooperate perfectly. Behind, IAM chased furiously as Visconti posed a clear GC danger.


The break splits up

Brun and Vaubourzeix were unable to keep up and fell back to the peloton. On the steep 11% climb, the group splintered to pieces. Voeckler was the first to drop off and at the top Visconti was the lone leader followed by Lammertink while Laborie and Vimpere were a little further behind.


FDJ took control in the peloton, hoping to see Ladagnous take a sprint win, and they reeled in all riders except Visconti who managed to keep a 40-second gap for a long time. Adrian Saez (Euskaltel) tried to bridge across but had no success in his mission.


With less than 10km to go, it was finally over for Visconti. Vichot, Voeckler and Saez all tried desperate late attacks but Sojasun and Movistar kept everything together for a sprint. Here Ladagnous continued FDJs dominance on home soil while Elmiger finished safely in the bunch to defend his overall lead.



1. Matthieu Ladagnous

2. Julien Simon

3. Antonino Parrinello

4. Maurits Lammertink

5. Peio Bilbao

6. Marco Canola

7. Romain Hardy

8. Jean-Luc Delpech

9. Jesus Herrada

10. Sebastien Reichenbach


General classification:

1. Martin Elmiger


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