Danish team CSC came very close to winning Sunday's Paris-Tours, where both Kurt-Asle Arvesen and Stuart O'Grady made the podium after a dramatic finish. Arvesen lost the sprint for victory to Frederic Guesdon (Francaise des Jeux), while O'Grady won the bunch sprint ahead of Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole).
"The team did a fantastic job and we were well represented up front during the entire race, but you can't win them all, and Guesdon was the strongest rider today," admitted CSC sports director Alain Gallopin. "Having said that, I'm quite sure today's results mean we have won the ProTour team rankings for the second consecutive season." Indeed, CSC now leads the ranking by 37 points over Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears.
Lastras will try again
Caisse d'Epargne will continue to fight, though. Two kilometres from the finish line in Paris-Tours, Pablo Lastras (Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears) counter-attacked out of the bunch together with Belgian Nick Nuyens (Quick.Step) and Danilo Napolitano (Lampre). The three riders came close to the leaders, but it was not sufficient to fight for the win.
"I recovered very well after all the efforts I made during the Vuelta and this morning I took the start with very good legs and most of all very motivated to realize an excellent race", said Pablo Lastras after the race had finished. "I didn't go with the early breakaway, but I was lucky to be in the first part of the bunch when it was broken in two groups because of the wind. In the final part I felt really so well that I was aware I had a possibility to be on the podium. At that moment I knew I had to try something and that’s the reason why I attacked. Unfortunately it was not possible for me today, but I don’t lose confidence and will try it again next week in the Giro del Piemonte and later in Lombardy."
The Giro di Lombardia next Saturday will mark the end of the second season of the ProTour.