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Napolitano emerged as the fastest in the bunch sprint on the final day of the Boucles de la Mayenne, beating Jules and Pasqualon into the minor positions; Turgis won the race overall

Photo: ©Kramon














07.06.2015 @ 18:01 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Danilo Napolitano (Wanty) broke a drought of more than two years when he emerged as the fastest in the bunch sprint on the final day of the Boucles de la Mayenne. The Italian beat Justin Jules (Veranclassic) and Andrea Paqualon (Roth Skoda) into the minor positions while Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) finished 7th and so secured the overall victory.


When he turned professional, Danilo Napolitano won lots of races and was expected to turn into one of the leading sprinters. However, things haven’t turned out as the Italian had hoped and he has faded into anonymity, riding for professional continental teams since 2010.


In 2013, he managed to save his professional career at the last minute when he signed a contract with Wanty and with a win in the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, he proved that he still has the speed to beat his rival sprinters. That was enough for him to be retained by the team when it developed into Wanty-Groupe Gobert.


However, Napolitano is no longer the main sprinter in the team and he has mainly been signed as a lead-out man for promising Belgian Roy Jans. However, he occasionally gets his own chance and this year he has already been in the top 3 three times, with a third place in a stage of the 4 Days of Dunkirk and second places on the final stage an in the GC at the World Ports Classic.


In this week’s Boucles de la Mayenne, he was again the main sprinter in the team and after a sixth place in the first stage, he finally broke his long drought when he won today’s final stage. After his Wanty team had worked hard in the finale to bring back a four-rider break, they perfectly delivered their Italian who beat Justin Jules and stage one winner Andrea Pasqualon into the minor podium positions.


Race leader Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) got a brief scare when Pasqualon won the first intermediate sprint to reduce his overall deficit to 11 seconds. However, as the early escapees picked up the bonus seconds in the second sprint, a bunch sprint was enough to secure the overall victory if he could avoid any splits in the finale.


Turgis didn’t leave anything to chance and even mixed it up in the bunch sprint, crossing the line in 7th. That was enough to step onto the podium as the winner with a 7-second advantage over Pasqualon while Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne) was 7 seconds further adrift in third.


Pasqualon completed an excellent race by winning the points competition while Clement Koretzky (Vorarlberg) was the best climber. Turgis was also the best young rider and Armee de Terre won the teams classification.


Racing in France continues for another week with the Criterium du Dauphiné which started to day. Next week many of the riders from the Boucles de la Mayenne will be at the start of the mountainous Route du Sud.


One for the sprinters

After yesterday’s queen stage, the final stage was a flatter affair that brought the riders over 176km from Colombiers-du-Plessis to Laval. After an easy start with just one climb in the first half, the riders would tackle four ascents before they get to the flat 5km finishing circuit which they covered 5 times.


It was another sunny day in France when the riders gathered for the start of the final stage. As usual, the first part of the race was extremely fast with lots of attack.


Lots of attacks

Julien Guay (Auber 93), Guillaume Thevenot (Europcar), Olivier Le Gac (FDJ), Victor Campenaerts (Topsport), Ignatas Konovalovas (Marseille) and Matt Zenovich (CTC) got  a promising gap of 25 second after 14km of racing but the peloton was not content with the sitation. Hence, they were brought back and the attacking could start again.


Sean Downey (An Post) made an unsuccessful attack before Julien El Fares (Marseille), Anthony Geslin (FDJ), Pierrick Fedrigo (Bretagne) and Yoann Paillot (Marseille) got clear in a very strong group. They got an advantage of 14 seconds but Cofidis managed to shut it down after 30km of fast racing.


Bonus seconds for Pasqualon

FDJ now took over the pace-setting before Andrea Pasqualon (Roth-Skoda) beat Jose Goncalves (Caja Rural), Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne) and Artem Ovechkin (Rusvlo) on the first intermediate sprint. Moments later, Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne), Jimmy Turgis (Roubaix), Justin Jules (Veranclassic) and Quentin Pacher (Armee) attacked and they worked hard to keep an advantage of 10-20 seconds for some time.


Thomas Sprengers (Topsport) managed to bridge the gap but the peloton was still not in any mood to slow down. Johan Le Bon (FDJ) and Fedrigo also managed to join the group alongside a few others but after 70km of racing, it was all back together.


The break gets clear

The next attack was more successful. Alo Jakin (Auber 93), Geslin, Pericho, Paillot, Yann Guyot (Armee) and Alberto Cecchin (Roth-Skoda) took off and they quickly got an advantage of 1.15. However, the attacking continued and Vincent Jerome (Europcar), Jan Ghyselinck (Wanty), Maxime Vantomme (Roubaix) and Stan Godrie (Rabobank) had created a chase group that was just 15 seconds behind while Alexandre Blain (Marseille) was 30 seconds further adrift.


Blain decided to wait for the peloton which was now 2.18 behind the front sextet which extended hits advantage over the chasers. The gap went out to 40 seconds but finally the front group decided to wait for them.


The two front groups merge

The brief slowdown brought the gap down to 1.45 and the peloton was not intent on letting this big group get much of an advantage. With 75km to go, the gap was only 45 seconds.


Turgis had now already lost teammates Louis Verhelst and Gert Joeaar and so it was now Topsport Vlaanderen leading the chase. They kept the gap stable for a while before they made a big acceleration.


The break splits up

When the gap was down to 10 seconds, Geslin, Vantomme, Cecchin and Guyot attacked. As the rest of the group was caught, they were allowed to reopen their advantage to 1.10 with 62km to go.


The peloton kept the gap stable around 1.30 for a while before the escapees upped the pace. They managed to extend their advantage to 1.50 before the peloton reacted.


The chase gets organized

Rusvelo, Cofidis and Wanty all started to work and this caused the gap to come down. Meanwhile, Cecchin beat Guyot, Vantomme and Geslin in the second intermediate sprint at a point when they still had an advantage of 1.10.


Sprinter Lorrenzo Manzin (FDJ) had to spend a bit of energy to rejoin the peloton after a puncture as the peloton was now riding fast. Caja Rural, Europcar and Rabobank were now also chasing but the escapees still had an advantage of 1.00 when they started the first of their five laps of the 5km finishing circuit.


The break is caught

Cofidis, Rusvelo and Caja Rural were in control when the peloton started the second lap with a deficit of 50 seconds and it was now Stephane Rossetto and Clement Venturini doing a massive job. Bretagne alos came to the four as Fedrigo started to work and when they started the penultimate lap, they had the escapees in sight.


Fedrigo was doing all the work to keep the gap at 15 seconds before the break was caught at the start of the final lap. Serge Dewortelaer (Veranclassic) made a small attempt to get clear but he had no success. Instead, Wanty took control and delivered Napolitano to a sprint win



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