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After a day in full control, Etixx-QuickStep delivered Trentin to a sprint win in the final stage of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes and Martin to the overall victory

Photo: © Etixx - Quick-Step / Tim de Waele
















28.08.2015 @ 18:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Etixx-QuickStep continued their domination of the Tour du Poitou-Charentes right until the end of the 5-day race as they took it all on the final day. The team controlled all attacks from their key rivals before they delivered Matteo Trentin to a sprint win while Tony Martin finished safely in the bunch to take the overall victory after having done the lead-out for his Italian teammate.


Going into the Tour du Poitou-Charentes, it was evident that Etixx-QuickStep had one of the strongest teams for the four-day race. Throughout the entire race they have confirmed that impression and today they crowned it all with another stage win and the overall victory.


Already in the first stage, they has shown attentiveness when Tony Martin was part of a successful escape that allowed him to gain time on all his key rivals for the overall win. One day later they destroyed the peloton in the crosswind and gained crucial time on their biggest rivals for the time trial while also taking a stage win with Matteo Trentin.


Martin was unable to win yesterday’s TT but he did enough to take the overall win and so today’s final stage was all about controlling the rivals. The team did well to do so and completed the day delivering Trentin to another sprint win.


The Belgian team faced a tough challenge as the final stage was the hardest but they rode strongly all day. Having kept the early break under control, they were unfazed when Sy tried to split the field on the finishing circuit.


Unsurprisingly, there were lots of attacks but the team had Julian Alaphilippe covering all the moves and as no one wanted to ride with the fast Frenchman, they managed to bring it all back together for the bunch sprint. With the jersey safely on his shoulders, Martin went into lead-out mode and delivered Trentin perfectly, with the Italian holding off Bryan Coquard (Europcar) and Adrien Petit (Cofidis) in the final dash to the line.


Martin too the overall victory with a 37-second advantage over Adriano Malori whose Movistar teammate Jonathan Castroviejo was third, 1 second further adrift. Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) missed out on the podium by just 2 seconds after he was left frustrated in the bunch sprint where a fourth place saw him miss out on the crucial bonus seconds.


Trentin won the points classification while Rudy Kowalski (Roubaix) was the best climber. Petr Vakoc (Etixx-QuickStep) was the best young rider while Movistar used a dominant TT performance to win the teams classification.


The Tour du Poitou-Charentes is usually the final warm-up for Sunday’s GP Plouay which will see many of the same riders back in action for the next race on the WorldTour calendar.


The hardest stage

After yesterday’s double stage, the Tour du Poitou-Charentes ended with a 197.8km that brought the riders from Gourges to the traditional finish in Poitiers. On the usual lumpy roads, the riders would tackle a total of four categorized climbs before they ended the stage by doing two laps of a 13.7km finishing circuit that included a small climb and had often allowed attackers to steal the show.


It was cloudy day when the riders gathered for the start. David Menut (Auber 93), Mauro Finetto (Southeast), Flavien Dassonville (Auber 93) and Julien Antomarchi (Roubaix) were non-starters.


The break gets clear

Right from the start Kevin Lebreton (Armee) launched an attack but it was Thomas Boudat (Team Europcar), Clément Venturini (Cofidis), Frédéric Brun (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Romain Combaud (Army) and Ludwig De Winter (Wallonie-Bruxelles) who got a gap that quickly went out ot a minute. In the peloton, LottoNL-Jumbo took control as they apparently were not content with the situation and brought the gap down to 25 seconds, hoping to bring the break back for the first intermediate sprint.


They failed in their mission and so Etixx-QuickStep took over while Alexandre Blain (Marseille) took off in pursuit. De Winter beat Boudat and Venturini in the sprint while most of the peloton stopped for a natural break.


Etixx-QuickStep in control

The front group did not wait for Blain who was losing ground and was dangling 30 seconds behind the front group while the peloton was already 3.00 behind. Finally, the tables turned and he made it across after 22km of racing when the peloton was 3.40 behind.


The gap was kept stable while Blain beat Combaud and De Winter in the first KOM sprint as Etixx-QuickStep kept it between the 3- and 4-minute marks for a while. At the 73km mark, they had brought it slightly down to 2.50.


Wanty riders abandon

The gap was still 2.30 when Blain beat De Winter and Brun in the second intermediate sprint and Etixx-QuickStep still didn’t get any help. As they entered the final 100km, it was down to 2.10.


Tim De Troyer and Tom Devriendt (Wanty) abandoned in the feed zone where Martin stopped for a natural break and Luke Rowe (Sky) and Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL) punctured which allowed the gap to grown to 3.30. Moments later Blain beat Venturini and Boudat in the second KOM sprint. The Frenchman was again the fastest at the top of the third climb, leading De Winter and Venturini over the top while the peloton followed at 3 minutes.


A strong chase trio

The gap was kept stable until the attacking started with 48km to go when Arthur Vichot, Anthony Roux (FDJ) and Nick van der Lijke (LottoNL-Jumbo) took off. That prompted the peloton to accelerate and as they entered the final 40km, the gap was only 2.12 while the chasers were at 1.55.


The chase effort didn’t work as the three chasers were caught. This allowed the peloton to slow down and after the gap had been down to 1.35, it was again 2.20 when Blain beat Venturini and Boudat in the final intermediate sprint.


The peloton explodes

As the peloton hit the final climb, Sky accelerated significantly which was too much for Martin Mortensen (Cult Energy Pro Cycling), David Lopez Garcia (Team Sky), Robin Stenuit (Wanty Group Gobert), John Gadret (Movistar Team), Steven Lammertink (Team Lotto Nl-Jumbo), Benoît Vaugrenard (FDJ), Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-Quick Step), Romain Pillon (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Benjamin Giraud (Team Marseille 13-KTM) and Lukasz Wisniowski (Etixx-Quick Step) who were all dropped. When the gap was down to 1.20, Karel Hnik (Cult) and Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) tried to bridge across.


De Winter and Brun attacked on the descent after Combaud had led Venturini and Boudat over the top and they quickly out 20 seconds into their chasers. Meanwhile, the peloton brought.


Alaphilippe marks the moves

A Sky rider tried to attack and was joined by one from Bretagne and MTN but they were caught immediately. Instead, the pace went down a bit and the gap was still 1 minute with 20km to go. Here the chasers were already 45 seconds behind.


The chasers were caught when the peloton accelerated and sent several riders out the back door, including Alex Kirsch (Cult Energy Pro Cycling), Nathan Earle (Team Sky), Benoit Jarrier (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Benjamin Thomas (Armee de Terre), Luke Rowe (Team Sky), Alex Dowsett (Movistar Team) and Clément Venturini ( Cofidis). However, Combaud refused to give up and attacked alongside Wout Poels (Sky) and Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickSTep) but they had no success either.


Etixx-QuickStep in control

With 15km to go, the gap was down to 30 seconds. Moments later, they crossed the finish line to start the final lap where Laporte and Alaphilippe took off. They stayed clear for a few kilometres but were quicly brought back.


A Wallonie rider briefly tried to get clear but he had no success as Sky and Europcar were riding on the front, keeping the gap at 30 seconds. Etixx-QuickStep again took control as they entered the final 10km.


Trentin takes the win

De Winter tried to drop Brun but he had no success and the pair were still together when they entered the final 8km with a 20-second advantage. Alaphilippe took some huge turns and he ended the day for the breakaway with 5km to go.


The peloton was exploding and Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r) was among the many riders to get dropped. Meanwhile, the trains were preparing for a sprint finish and quickly brought Angelo Tulik (Europcar) back when he attacked 2km from the finish.


Like yesterday Anthony Turgis (Cofidis) was the next to try and he still had an advantage when he passed the flamme rouge. However, he was brought back by the Etixx-QuickStep train and it was Martin who set Trentin up for the win with 500m to go.



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