Danilo Di Luca moved one step closer to regaining the ProTour title he won back in 2005 with a third place finish at the GP Ouest France - Plouay behind an opportunistic Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) and hard-sprinting Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole). The Italian, rumoured to be leaving Liquigas for Lampre-Fondital next season, leads Tour de France winner Alberto Contador (Discovery Channel) by 41 points with Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne) and Cadel Evans (Predictor-Lotto) in third and fourth respectively.
"My goal here was to score as many UCI ProTour points as possible," said Di Luca. "I'm satisfied with third place. I thank my team for having done the hard work. During the final sprint, I followed Filippo Pozzato who was kind to slow down and let me come third instead of fourth. Now I'll go to the Tour of Poland with the ambition to score a few more points. I think the ProTour is almost won but I'll wait for the results of the Tour of Spain where Cadel Evans can also threaten my lead."
Indeed, Evans looks to be the only rider capable of threatening Di Luca's quest for a second ProTour title after Valverde decided against participating in his home Grand Tour and failed to score any ProTour points in Plouay on Sunday.
The other ProTour classifications remained largely unchanged with perennial leaders Team CSC maintaining a healthy advantage over Discovery Channel in the team standings, while Italy now has a whopping 68 point lead over Spain in the nations ranking.
For the full ProTour standings after the GP Ouest France - Plouay, click here