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National theme bike for Tour's lone Japanese rider
Holding true to its promise, the Tour de Picardie proved to be a race for the sprinters, and the...
Holding true to its promise, the Tour de Picardie proved to be a race for the sprinters, and the final stage went to the best of bunch: Sébastien Chavanel. The Française des Jeux rider was delivered to the stage victory by his team-mate and Het Volk winner Philippe Gilbert by the sea at Cayeux-sur-Mer, his bonus seconds providing just enough time to gain the overall victory as well. With the stage win and an intermediate bonus, Chavanel slipped ahead of the morning's leader Jean Eudes Demaret (Cofidis) to win by just one second.
"It's a team victory. I was perfectly led out by Gilbert," Chavanel gleemed. "We took off together in the final bend behind Hoste. I turned around and saw that the others were ten metres behind and I told Philippe 'now's the moment'. We eased up the pace and finished together. It's a real satisfaction and the proof that we can rely on sprinters to win races."
The morning's third stage was won by the young Frenchman Demaret. The 23-year-old was part of a breakaway which, for the second stage in a row, held a slim lead in the final metres. Demaret out-sprinted the Dutch pursuiter Jens Mouris (Mitsubishi Jartazi) and Slipstream's Kilian Patour as Ignas Konovalovas (Credit Agricole) followed in fourth.
Demaret led Mouris by just two seconds until the afternoon's final stage. "In the final part, we started looking at each other. Francis (van Londersele) told me I had a good chance of victory and asked me to remain focused. I really wanted to win but when I crossed the finish line, I wasn't sure I had won. It's a huge satisfaction for me and it shows I have my place in the pack".
The satisfaction did not last long, as Demaret was unable to get but one small second in the time bonuses, and lost the overall to Chavanel by a single second.