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"For six years, I have been a professional, but I've never won anything. Every year, I took  a small step. But I didn’t win! I'm not the most talented, I do not call myself Peter Sagan!"

Photo: Tim De Waele/TDW Sport


20.08.2016 @ 00:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani) continued his excellent return to form after a difficult summer by making it two in a row on the final stage of the Tour du Limousin. In another uphill sprint made for his characteristics, he easily held off Francesco Gavazzi (Androni) and Romain Feillu (Auber 93) to take the third win of the season. However, he just missed out on the overall win which went to Joey Rosskopf (BMC) with a 1-second advantage over the Bardiani leader, with Hubert Dupont (Ag2r) rounding out the podium.


We have gathered a few reactions.


Joey Rosskopf after first overall win: I am no Peter Sagan

With only ten seconds separating the top four General Classification riders, Tour du Limousin came down to the wire on Stage 4 with Joey Rosskopf crossing the line in the front group to secure overall victory after leading the race from start to finish.


BMC Racing Team were in control of the race for most of the day and never allowed the advantage of the day's eleven-rider breakaway to reach beyond 3 minutes 30 seconds. 


With the final breakaway riders caught going on to the final finishing circuit, attacks from main General Classification contenders could begin including an impressive show of acceleration from Rosskopf with 10 kilometers to go. 


Eventually the stage came down to a fast and furious sprint for the line won by Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani - CSF), while Joey Rosskopf finished safely in the bunch behind to finish on top of the General Classification just one second ahead of Colbrelli. 


"I feel super good! I would have been really disappointed if I had lost the GC today but that didn't happen so I feel fantastic,” Rosskopf said.


"I was confident that it would come down to a sprint. I was not super worried about second and third on GC as I knew I could mark them but the biggest threat was definitely Colbrelli. All he needed other than the win was for a one second time gap to open up at the field sprint which could have easily happened but I gave it my all to stay up there and in the end I was able to win the race. It was definitely super close.


"From the start, we knew that the finale was made for Colbrelli. The team delivered a great job on the circuit and I could reward them by winning by one second. Maybe De Marchi was the strongest of us, but he followed me to the end. He set a hard tempo on the last climb so that no one was able to accelerate. Once we were over the summit, there were 7km to go and I started to believe in it. All I had to do wa to stay in the wheels and not to lose a second. In fact, I had the easiest job: my teammates took the wind all day and I had to do the job in the last 10km. This proves that cycling is a team sport. I was really not the strongest over the four days. I just had the chance to be the fastest of the breakaway on the first stage and I could rely on the experience of my teammates. It's really great, without them I would never have won. For six years, I have been a professional, but I've never won anything. Every year, I took  a small step. But I didn’t win! I'm not the most talented, I do not call myself Peter Sagan!


"It has been an incredible experience. There is not a better display of cycling as a team sport than what we did over the last three days defending the jersey. Cycling might look like an individual sport but it isn't. I mean, I won the race but I wouldn't have been able to do that without the support of such a strong team.


"This win gives me a lot of confidence. I was already really happy with how I was riding going to Tour of Utah and I am really happy that I could keep that form going here and make the most of it. Now I want to enjoy it. We will think about the future later.”

Sports Director Jackson Stewart said: 


"We were pretty certain it would be a bunch sprint today as there was handful of teams who thought they could win the stage. We were nervous about the time bonuses and as we knew Colbrelli could win the stage and if he wanted to take GC he probably could get that too.


"We did all the work to defend early on and then got some help in the final before some pretty big attacks. It finally came down to a field sprint and we knew that we couldn't let gaps form.


"The team did an amazing job. It's been really nice to see the team come together. This was a smaller race, a different kind of race for us so we just came into the race looking for opportunities and Joey took a great one right at the start. For me, it was really impressive how he won the race as after the first stage he only lost time on the GC due to the time bonus." 


Sonny Colbrelli: I have regained confidence in the sprints

Sonny Colbrelli and the #GreenTeam are not tired of winning at Tour du Limousin. Thanks to a powerful sprint, the Italian rider claimed the fourth and final stage of the French race.

“It’s a great satisfaction,” said Colbrelli. “I want to dedicate this win to the team, to our main sponsors Bardiani and CSF and to Reverberi’s family. It’s not by chance that victories come, there’s always a hard work behind and a lot of passion. And this is also what they transmit to us.”

Colbrelli finished the Tour du Limousin with two stage wins but the victory of the final classification slipoed away by only one second.


“Well, it would be the cherry on top of the ckae but I’ve no regrets. We knew it was hard to control the race, taking seconds in intermediate sprints and then the final one. We did our best, there’s nothing to complain about.”

Talking about the final sprint, Colbrelli is happy going beyond his worries in bunch sprints:


“I found confidence again and yesterday’s win helped me a lot. Since the beginning of the season I preferred to fight in  different finales, but today was a very good chance, even if I had to take a few risks. There was a lot of chaos in the final kilometers and I was uncertain who was the favorite. At 500 meters Gavazzi launched a long sprint, I immediately moved on his wheel and then passed - this was the only thing to do.

"I had bad legs early in the stage. BMC took responsibility and I svaed my teammates for the final. We were only five at the start, so it was impossible to control until the first intermediate sprint after 6km. I win the stage and I lose the general by a second. It does not matter, Joey deserves my compliments. Inevitably, the yellow jersey would have been better but I allowed the team to shine. It is essential. "

The #GreenTeam celebrated its eighth wins in 2016 while Colbrelli took the third victory (GP di Lugano and yesterday’s stage) and the 12th in career.


"Two stage victories, a second place overall is really great,” sports director Stefano Zanatta told Directvelo. “Certainly we lose the GC by a second, but I did not really expect this on Tuesday morning. We lacked competition in July, so there were many unknowns. I was a bit worried about Sonny’s form. On the third stage, we lost three guys which complicated the task for the GC. When I saw that the race couldn’t be controlled, it remained to concentrate on the final stretch which we knew well. To get the victory is great. Now we think of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes and the GP Plouay.”


Hubert Dupont surprises with overall podium in Limousin

Taking the third place in the Tour du Limousin, Hubert Dupont took the second podium in a stage race of his career. Four years after the Route du Sud (2nd), the Frenchman says:


"I am satisfied with this podium which came with a breakaway on the first day but at the Tour du Limousin you have to fight every day to keep the place.Tthe course is not the one that suits my qualities the best but you have to hang on on the rough roads and I like that spirit. I tried to destabilize the leader ervey day but I did not succeed. I have no regrets. Now my next goal will be the Tour du Doubs (September 11) before the Italian Classics at the end of the season."


Romain Feillu back on the podium in Limousin

Romain Feillu (HP BTP-Auber 93) was third on the stage.


"I really dug deep on the last climb 10km from the line,” he told Directvelo. “Therefore I was well placed at the top and I knew I could achieve a nice result. Once back in Limoges, I stayed at the front. Guillaume (Levarlet) did a great job but I had to start at 300m, a little early. I was passed by Colbrelli and Gavazzi, unfortunately. Placing myself behind Gavazzi was perhaps way to win. But hey, it's not bad because my opponents are great riders. My legs are good, I kept freshness which is reassuring for the Poitou-Charentes."

Auber 93 wins mountains jersey in Limousin

Flavien Dassonville (HP BTP-Auber 93) won the mountains jersey.


"I had to keep an eye on Julien El Fares because he was mathematically the only one able to steal my jersey. I followed him when he attacked. Once the breakaway was away without me, I was quiet. It's nice to get a distinctive jersey because it provides visibility to the team. We also had a top 10 in the stage,” he told Directvelo.

Several top 20s for Roompot in Limousin

The Tour du Limousin was not a great success for Roompot. The three consecutive top 20s for Michel Kreder were the main results in the four-day event in the middle of France. 


With 16th, 14th and 10th in the last three stages, Michel Kreder was the most consistently performing rider from the team Erik Breukink and Michel Cornelisse. Also Sjoerd van Ginneken (twice 13th) and Nick van der call (18th and 14th) showed good shape For Ivar Slik, Wesley Kreder and Huub Duijn (sick) it was different as they didn’t reach the finish.


Pieter Weening used the Tour du Limousin mainly to get into shape again. After an injury and a period with criteriums, the winner of the Tour of Norway will be back in action at the Tour des Fjords. 


Armee de Terre wins sprints jersey in Limousin

Romain Le Roux (Armee) won the sprints jersey.


"I had a beautiful day. In the early part of the stage, I chose to go in the break to get that blue jersey. It's done, so I'm happy. Along the way, two guys were going for bonus secods for the general classification so we did some small sprints. It was also important for the team because we missed out in the general classification. "

Rafal Majka attacks unrewarded in Limousin

Rafal Majka was again Tinkoff’s highest finisher on the fourth and final stage of the Tour du Limousin, sprinting to 20th in a 50-rider strong front group that survived to the finish. The thinned down front group also contained stagiaire Lorenzo Fortunato, making the final selection for the second day in a row in this tough French race.


“It was quite a similar race to the yesterday with an early break going clear and then BMC doing a strong job of taking control behind,” explained Sport Director Tristan Hoffman after the finish. “There was constantly a fast pace again and Rafa tried on the finishing circuits but again it was not hard enough and the pace was too fast. We finished with three laps of a 12km circuit where the climb looked quite tough on the profile but it wasn’t actually as hard as we thought.”


Hoffman continued, summing up the four days of racing for the team.


“The three young stagiaires got a good experience with the team here. Rafa finished in a good way and it was promising to see him looking strong for the races still to come. We hoped to be a bit more involved in the race, but sometimes it works out like this. With the line-up we had here we were up against it to get results – but the guys did their best and worked well together.”



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