Frenchman jumps early after studying the finish on Google
Samuel Dumoulin gave Ag2r-La Mondiale its first victory of the 2013 season thanks to combining his finishing speed with digital intelligence at the Etoile de Bessèges on Sunday.
The pocket-rocket Frenchman struggled to match the finishing speed of Bryan Coquard (Team Europcar) during earlier stages and so took to the internet to find a vital advantage for 69km split stage.
Dumoulin and his team studied the finish of the stage on Google maps and decided to sprint early, coming out of the last roundabout with 500 metres to go, in the hope of anticipating the sprinters and their lead out men. The plan worked, with Dumoulin winning the stage by several bike lengths ahead of Coquard and Mathieu Drujon (Big Mat - Auber 93).
It is not the first time that cycling teams used Google maps, and even Google Street view to study race finishes. They are used a lot at the Tour de France, with former sprinters such as Robbie McEwen advising Orica-GreenEdge at last year's Tour de France. Erik Zabel worked with Mark Cavendish at the Highroad teams, advising the team on the wind direction and which parts of the road to ride on the finale of stages. Team Sky recorded video footage of each sprint stage for Mark Cavendish so that he and his teammates could see the finish on the team bus before the start of the day's racing.
Ag2r-La Mondiale finally seems to be catching up on their global rivals after a disastrous 2102 season, when they on just five races.
"I've got to thank Google and their maps," Dumoulin told Equipe after his win. "We studied the final part of the stage very carefully and especially the last roundabout, with 500 metres to go."
"I decided to anticipate the peloton at that point and it worked, otherwise in a classic sprint situation, I wouldn't have beaten Coquard. Studying Google maps, I realised that I had to go for it two parts. I went for it, took advantage of this knowledge and I won!"
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