By Jean-François Quénet in Les Herbiers
One week after Philippe Gilbert presented Française des Jeux with a superb parting gift by winning Paris-Tours before heading home to Belgian squad Silence-Lotto, Stef Clement did the same for Bouygues Telecom on home soil. Desperate to win a race before going back to Rabobank next year, he took the Chrono des Nations title.
"I've come second a couple of times but it's been a difficult year for me and for the team; it's much better to part ways on a high note," said the Dutchman, 26, after taking the crown.
Clement will now begin another phase of his career at Rabobank.
"At this stage I'd prefer to go and ride for a true leader, rather than stay with a team where everybody still has to fight for position," said Clement. "I'm going back to where everything started for me and I'll return home riding with colleagues that I know well. Rabobank has a plan for a backing a Dutch leader at the Tour de France and I'm excited to be part of this plan."
The win for Team Bouygues Telecom came just 20 kilometres away from their headquarters.
(Additional editorial assistance provided by Antonio J. Salmerón.)