The year has begun well for Iouri Trofimov, a young Russian who started his first season as a pro bike racer just a few weeks ago. The Bouygues Telecom rider was eager to show his worth in the pro peloton, and didn't lose any time to score his first win by taking the overall victory in the 38th Etoile de Bessèges stage race in France, which finished this Sunday.
The 24 year-old Trofimov, who paved the way for his final victory by winning stage three of the event, already won the amateur Paris-Troyes last year when he was still with Omnibike Dynamo Moscow. He demonstrated a good early 2008 season form by finishing eighth in the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise, the French season opener, even if he didn't wear an earpiece. "It didn't make any sense [to give him the means to communicate)," said his directeur sportif Didier Rous to L'Equipe, explaining that Trofimov doesn't speak any French or English yet - he is still learning a basic cycling vocabulary. But this didn't prevent him from going on to shine in the hilly parcours of the Bessèges stage on Friday, especially on the Col de la Baraque.
After the descent, Trofimov soloed to victory even though the bunch was chasing him hard. "To resist the peloton like he did in the finale, he really did something impressive - chapeau!" said Agritubel's Christophe Moreau, who has the experience to judge the Russian's feat.
It is not the first 2008 win for his Bouygues Telecom team, directed by Jean-René Bernaudeau - the young Rony Martias won twice in Gabon in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo, and his team-mate Matthieu Sprick was first to the line in stage one of the Tour de Langkawi and is currently wearing the leader's jersey of the event.