Sanchez speediest in Varades

Spaniard seals sprint to take overall lead

Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) claimed a sprint victory in the opening stage of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire in Varades, France on Tuesday.

The Spaniard, currently first in the International Cycling Union's world rankings, upstaged more established sprint rivals Marko Kump (Adria Mobil) and Anthony Ravard (Ag2R-La Mondiale) to claim stage honours and the first leader's jersey of the race.

The victory was Sanchez's third stage win of the season, following his victory at the Tour Down Under in January and indvidual time trial triumph at the Tour of the Algarve in February.

"The stage was very fast," said Sanchez. "Before the finish I talked to Mathieu Drujon who is the sprinter for our team in this race. He told me that is was not feeling good enough to sprint himself but that he wanted to help me.

"There was a curve at 400 meters from the finish. I was on Arnaud Coyot's wheel with Drujon in third position. We launched the sprint at that time and were immediately fifteen meters ahead of the bunch, which was sufficient to prevent the pack to come back."

Sanchez will now try to defend his overall lead in the race, although he knows it will be a challenge.

"I am the leader now and we will try to defend that jersey. It will not be easy because we only have six riders on the team, which means that it will be very difficult to control the situation.

"Nevertheless we are here with a strong team even if we unfortunately lost Iván Gutiérrez who had to quit the race today after suffering from allergy and we will fight to try and win the race."

"I know the Circuit de la Sarthe pretty well and I can say that it is absolutely not an easy race. The stages are rather difficult with plenty of short hills and tomorrow two half stages are in the program. The first one will include 97 kilometers and in the afternoon there is a short individual time trial, less than seven kilometers."

French teams take flight on home soil

Earlier in the stage, Yuriy Krivtsov (Ag2R-La Mondiale) had been the first rider to gain any time over his rivals as he attacked after 23 kilometres. But with 185 kilometres on the agenda his task was always likely to be a futile one as he was reabsorbed after five kilometres.

After several parries from the peloton, a group of ten riders established the first meaningful escape. Anthony Roux (Française des Jeux), Christophe Moreau (Caisse d'Epargne), Sebastian Minard (Cofidis), Yaroslav Popovych (RadioShack), Jean-Marc Marino (Saur-Sojasun), Philip Deignan (Cervelo), Thierry Hupond (Skil-Shimano), Steve Morabito (BMC Racing Team) and Uros Murn (Adria Mobil) going clear after 58 kilometres.

The group fought hard to stretch their advantage beyond 30 seconds, but the peloton, not satisfied with the make up of the escape, refused to let them go, and by the feed zone at 92 kilometres they had reeled in all but three of the leaders. Moreau, Popovych and Minard the most resistant to the peloton's advances.

The trio's slim advantage was given a boost by the arrival of Thomas Voeckler (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) and Kristjan Fajt (Adria Mobil), and subsequently Angel Madrazo (Caisse d'Epargne), Xavier Florencio (Cervelo) and Albert Timmer (Skil-Shimano).

With eight men now out in front, a 24 rider chase group established itself from the peloton. Within two kilometres these men had joined the leaders to create a huge leading group. The peloton, unimpressed by the huge numbers ahead began to cut down the 1:10 advantage held by the leaders. Sensing the delicacy of their situation Fajt and Yury Trofimov (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) established a fresh break.

The duo was able to build up a 2:20 buffer with 30 kilometres to race, Trofimov's Bbox squad keeping tabs on the front of the peloton. However, they couldn't stop the waves of Ag2-La Mondiale and Française des Jeux riders who came to the front, determined to spoil the day for their French rivals ahead.

With 20 kilometres to race the leader's advantage had dropped to 1:40, and 10 kilometres later the gap was 0:55.

Swinging underneath the 5-to-go banner, Fajt and Trofimov were clinging to only 12 seconds, with the sprinters teams all lending a hand in the chase. Two kilometres later, the pair was caught. With a sprint inevitable, the race had one more surprise in store as Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) rushed ahead of the peloton to snatch a win to impress the team's French sponsor.

Full Results
1Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne4:09:15 
2Marko Kump (Slo) Adria Mobil  
3Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
4Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
5Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
6Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
7Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
8Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
9Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
10Jean Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
11Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
12Nadir Haddou (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
13Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
14Alexander Porsev (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
15Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
16Alexandre Moos (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
17Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
18Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
19Tiago Machado (Por) Team Radioshack  
20Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
21Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
22Alexander Mironov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
23Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
24Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack  
25Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R La Mondiale  
26Bjorn Selander (USA) Team Radioshack  
27Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
28Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team  
29Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
30Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
31Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
32Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
33Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
34Yury Trofimov (Rus) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
35Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team  
36Pierre Rolland (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
37Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervelo Test Team  
38Mitja Mahoric (Slo) Adria Mobil  
39Christophe Moreau (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
40Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
41Anthony Roux (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
42Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
43Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
44Rémi Cusin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
45Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team Radioshack  
46Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
47Arthur Vichot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
48Matej Gnezda (Slo) Adria Mobil  
49Angel Madrazo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
50Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
51Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
52Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
53Kristjan Fajt (Slo) Adria Mobil  
54Uros Murn (Slo) Adria Mobil  
55Freddy Bichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
56Dimitri Champion (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
57Julien Mazet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
58Ted King (USA) Cervelo Test Team  
59Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
60Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
61John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
62Dmitry Kosyakov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
63Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
64Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
65Cyril Bessy (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
66Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
67Andrey Solomennikov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
68Inigo Cuesta (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
69Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
70Blaz Jarc (Slo) Adria Mobil  
71Yann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
72Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
73Jérémy Roy (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
74Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
75José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Team Radioshack  
76Maxime Mederel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
77Sergey Rudaskov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
78Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
79Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
80Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team  
81Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
82Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:00:32 
83Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller0:04:09 
84Piet Rooljakkers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
85Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox0:11:08 
86Stanislav Starodubtsev (Rus) Itera - Katusha0:19:39 
General classification after stage 1
1Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne4:09:05 
2Marko Kump (Slo) Adria Mobil0:00:04 
3Yury Trofimov (Rus) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
4Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale0:00:06 
5Kristjan Fajt (Slo) Adria Mobil  
6Christophe Moreau (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne0:00:07 
7Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team Radioshack0:00:08 
8Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne0:00:09 
9Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
10Anthony Roux (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
11Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux0:00:10 
12Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
13Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
14Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
15Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
16Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
17Jean Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
18Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
19Nadir Haddou (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
20Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
21Alexander Porsev (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
22Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
23Alexandre Moos (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
24Tiago Machado (Por) Team Radioshack  
25Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
26Florian Stalder (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
27Alexander Mironov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
28Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team  
29Lance Armstrong (USA) Team Radioshack  
30Yuriy Krivtsov (Ukr) Ag2R La Mondiale  
31Bjorn Selander (USA) Team Radioshack  
32Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
33Volodymir Gustov (Ukr) Cervelo Test Team  
34Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
35Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
36Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
37Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
38Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
39Philip Deignan (Irl) Cervelo Test Team  
40Pierre Rolland (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
41Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervelo Test Team  
42Mitja Mahoric (Slo) Adria Mobil  
43Albert Timmer (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
44Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
45Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
46Rémi Cusin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
47Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
48Arthur Vichot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
49Matej Gnezda (Slo) Adria Mobil  
50Angel Madrazo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
51Marco Frapporti (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
52Federico Canuti (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
53Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
54Uros Murn (Slo) Adria Mobil  
55Freddy Bichot (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
56Dimitri Champion (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
57Julien Mazet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
58Ted King (USA) Cervelo Test Team  
59Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne  
60Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
61John Gadret (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
62Dmitry Kosyakov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
63Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
64Christophe Riblon (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale  
65Cyril Bessy (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
66Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
67Andrey Solomennikov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
68Inigo Cuesta (Spa) Cervelo Test Team  
69Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
70Blaz Jarc (Slo) Adria Mobil  
71Yann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
72Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
73Jérémy Roy (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
74Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
75José Luis Rubiera (Spa) Team Radioshack  
76Maxime Mederel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
77Sergey Rudaskov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
78Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
79Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
80Jeffry Louder (USA) BMC Racing Team  
81Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
82Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:00:42 
83Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller0:04:19 
84Piet Rooljakkers (Ned) Skil - Shimano  
85Filippo Savini (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox0:11:18 
86Stanislav Starodubtsev (Rus) Itera - Katusha0:19:49 
Young rider classification
1Marko Kump (Slo) Adria Mobil  
2Anthony Roux (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux0:00:05 
3Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 930:00:06 
4Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
5Alexander Porsev (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
6Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
7Bjorn Selander (USA) Team Radioshack  
8Simon Geschke (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
9Mathias Frank (Swi) BMC Racing Team  
10Pierre Rolland (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
11Marcel Wyss (Swi) Cervelo Test Team  
12Alexandre Geniez (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
13Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
14Rémi Cusin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
15Arthur Vichot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
16Angel Madrazo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne  
17Dmitry Kosyakov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
18Cyril Bessy (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
19Andrey Solomennikov (Rus) Itera - Katusha  
20Blaz Jarc (Slo) Adria Mobil  
21Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux  
22Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox  
23Stanislav Starodubtsev (Rus) Itera - Katusha0:19:45 
Points classification
1Luis Leon Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne25pts
2Marko Kump (Slo) Adria Mobil20 
3Anthony Ravard (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale16 
4Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux14 
5Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 9312 
6Yury Trofimov (Rus) Bbox Bouygues Telecom10 
7Manuel Belletti (Ita) Colnago - Csf Inox10 
8Laurent Mangel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun9 
9Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervelo Test Team8 
10Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne7 
11Kristjan Fajt (Slo) Adria Mobil6 
12Jean Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller6 
13Christophe Moreau (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne5 
14Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 935 
15Nadir Haddou (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 934 
16Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team Radioshack3 
17Stéphane Auge (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne3 
18Alexander Porsev (Rus) Itera - Katusha2 
19Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Caisse d'Epargne1 
20Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller1 
21Anthony Roux (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux1 
22Cyril Gautier (Fra) Bbox Bouygues Telecom1 
Mountains classification
1Yaroslav Popovych (Ukr) Team Radioshack14pts
2Yury Trofimov (Rus) Bbox Bouygues Telecom8 
3Kristjan Fajt (Slo) Adria Mobil6 
4Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne6 
5Xavier Florencio (Spa) Cervelo Test Team3 
6Angel Madrazo (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne1 
7Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Francaise Des Jeux1 
Teams classification
1Big Mat - Auber 9312:27:45 
2Caisse D'epargne  
3Bmc Racing Team  
4Cofidis,Le Credit En Lig.  
5Team Radioshack  
6Cervelo Test Team  
7Bretagne - Schuller  
8Bbox Bouygues Telecom  
9Saur - Sojasun  
10Ag2R La Mondiale  
11Adria Mobil  
12Francaise Des Jeux  
13Itera - Katusha  
14Skil - Shimano  
15Colnago - Csf Inox  

 

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