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"Behind, we were ready  to sprint. There was always some doubt. I did the sprint anyway. It's frustrating to win the sprint when you fail to win, but we Johan Le Bon there. We had a good chance with him."

Photo: Sirotti






26.08.2015 @ 14:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

His crash in the Vattenfall Cyclassics is already a bad memory. From the first stage of the Tour Poitou-Charentes won by Arnaud Gérard (Bretagne), Johan Le Bon has positioned himself in the group of favourites in an event that is expected to be decided in the time trial.


"This is a stage that was hotly contested," ensured sports director Yvon Madiot. "First there was a breakaway of 4 riders that nobody took seriously. That  encouraged us to take our responsibilities and we rode on the front for 100km, mainly with Benoît Vaugrenard. Then there was a group of three riders, notably with Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step), but Arthur Vichot, as he had announced, did his job."


Finally, a group of twelve got clear with 10 kilometers to go and it quickly became a fight between Johan Le Bon and Tony Martin.


"Johan is really good and he attacked several times," Madiot said. "Tony Martin did the job to bring him back. With 2 km to go, Arnaud Gérard attacked but no one moved."


The former FDJ rider took a solo win with three seconds on his chasers with Johan Le Bon (11 th).


To his great pleasure, Marc Sarreau won the bunch sprint.


"It was a quiet day in the beginning," Sarreau told Directvelo. "Then my team and especially Benoit Vaugrenard rode for approximately 130km. Then there were attacks. It was stressful all day with the wind. We were afraid there would be echelons and therefore it was necessary to constantly stay attentive. 


"Everything was decided in the finale when this group got clear. Everyone was more or less represented  at the front and suddenly we got onto narrower roads. So they stayed away. 


"Behind, we were ready  to sprint. There was always some doubt. I did the sprint anyway. It's frustrating to win the sprint when you fail to win, but we Johan Le Bon there. We had a good chance with him. The victory is postponed for tomorrow. 


"This circuit was not bad for me. It was important to still have some power. I was not afraid of the finale, even if I did not have great legs. I really win in this Tour du Poitou-Charentes. 


"I did not have great sensations this year, I was sick and injured several times. I probably lack a little confidence in this environment where I have no benchmarks. I am not discouraged, the team trusts me. Today I am happy to see the team support me for the sprint. This bodes well for the rest of the week. 


"Tomorrow  I'll try again if there is a sprint. There is a large group of sprinters here so it will be difficult to win. But everything is possible in a sprint. I'm really motivated and I hope it will pay off."



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