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March 20, Elite men: Cholet 197km

Voeckler victorious at Cholet-Pays De Loire with late attack

Jean-François Quénet
March 20, 2011, 17:41 GMT,
March 20, 2011, 22:41 GMT

French champion pleases home crowd

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) has won the second leg of the French Cup, the 24th GP Cholet-Pays de Loire, less than 50 kilometres away from his home in Vendée.

The French champion anticipated the bunch sprint by breaking away solo just before the 3km to go mark. He gained a 10-second lead and barely held off a charging peloton at the finish line. It was a fully French podium with young guns Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) and Benjamin Giraud from the new Continental team La Pomme-Marseille taking second and third place.

"After my two stage wins at Paris-Nice, I realized yesterday at the Classic Loire-Atlantique that it was difficult to win with the benchmark of race favourite," Voeckler said in Cholet. "In the evening I spoke to Anthony Charteau who told me 'if you're marked so much, just wait for the last three kilometres'."

Voeckler followed the advice of his teammate who has been sidelined since he dislocated his shoulder at the Tour of South Africa. Charteau, who was the king of the mountains at last year's Tour de France, will resume racing at the Criterium International next week while Voeckler will battle in Belgium at the GP E3.

"I had my tactic in mind and I didn't change," Voeckler said. "I felt the crowd behind me and it helped me drastically."

But the crowd expressed their displeasure with the French champion's obligation to wear the white jersey as leader of the UCI Europe Tour rather than his iconic blue-white-red national champion's jersey. Gilles Bourdouleix, the mayor of Cholet, who is also Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme's brother-in-law, commented on the issue. "This is an insult to our national colours, they should be respected," he said.

However, the GP Cholet-Pays de Loire was another popular success with big crowds on the roadsides in the vineyards of the Anjou region. There was a long-lasting breakaway with Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank SunGard), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM), Cédric Pineau (FDJ), Jérôme Cousin (Team Europcar), Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun), Johannes Frohlinger (Skil-Shimano), Preben Van Hecke (TopSport Vlaanderen) and Armindo Fonseca and Laurent Pichon (Bretagne Schuller).

Van Hecke crossed each of the categorised climbs in first position to secure the mountain price victory. The peloton allowed them a maximum lead of 5:30 but their advantage went down to two minutes at the beginning of the last hour of racing under the action of Cofidis, who didn't have a rider in the break.

With 20km to go, soon after the regrouping, Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) and Pieter Jacobs (TopSport Vlaanderen) attacked. The pair stayed away for 15 kilometres with the Belgian resisting the peloton longer than his breakaway companion. Moments after Jacobs was absorbed Voeckler launched his spectacular and decisive attack.

Full Results
1 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 4:49:36  
2 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
3 Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille    
4 Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
5 Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
6 James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
7 Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
8 Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Caja Rural    
9 Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
10 Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
11 Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard    
12 Saïd Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar    
13 Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
14 Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano    
15 Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
16 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
17 Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
18 Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
19 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
20 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
21 Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
22 Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
23 Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard    
24 Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ    
25 Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
26 Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
27 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
28 Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
29 Justin Jules (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille    
30 Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
31 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
32 Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
33 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
34 Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
35 Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
36 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ    
37 Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ    
38 Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
39 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
40 Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ    
41 Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
42 Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Skil - Shimano    
43 Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
44 Julien Guay (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
45 Toms Skujinš (Lat) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille    
46 Dimitri Le Boulch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
47 Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
48 Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
49 Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
50 Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
51 Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
52 Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
53 Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet    
54 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar    
55 Thomas Degand (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
56 Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar    
57 Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
58 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
59 Will Routley (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
60 Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
61 Yohan Cauquil (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille    
62 Kevin Lalouette (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
63 Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
64 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Skil - Shimano    
65 Luke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:00:13  
66 Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet 0:00:17  
67 Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:19  
68 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
69 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ 0:00:22  
70 Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:30  
71 Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
72 Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:42  
73 Yann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano 0:00:49  
74 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ 0:00:58  
75 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 0:01:02  
76 Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:03:36  
77 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator 0:03:39  
78 Mads Christensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard 0:04:43  
79 Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard    
80 Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
81 Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent    
82 Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team Spidertech Powered By C10    
83 Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
84 Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
85 Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
86 Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun    
87 Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
88 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil - Shimano    
89 Guillemo Lana Baquedano (Spa) Caja Rural    
90 Alexander Riabkin (Rus) Caja Rural    
91 Daniel Diaz (Arg) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille    
92 Ruben Reig Conejero (Spa) Caja Rural    
93 Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Caja Rural    
94 Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team    
95 Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale    
96 Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
97 Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil - Shimano 0:05:49  
98 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar    
99 Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Skil - Shimano 0:05:51  
100 Anthony Colin (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole    
101 Florian Le Corre (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole 0:08:27  
102 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ 0:09:58  
103 Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ 0:12:36  
104 Ruben Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural 0:12:53  
105 Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Caja Rural    
106 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar 0:14:18  
107 Thomas Bonnin (Fra) Skil - Shimano    
DNF Steven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
DNF Reinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet    
DNF Eric Berthou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
DNF Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
DNF David Boily (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10    
DNF Bruno Langlois (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10    
DNF John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Arnaud Molmy (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
DNF Jonathan Thire (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
DNF Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Velo Club La Pomme-Marseille    
DNF Guillaume Faucon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93    
DNF Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil - DCM Procycling Team    
DNF Rafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank SunGard    
DNF Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne    
DNF Jean Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne    
DNF Thomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) Velo Club La Pomme-Marseille    
DNF Lucas Euser (USA) Team Spidertech Powered by C10    
DNF Oleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Caja Rural    
DNF Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller    
DNF Cyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale    
DNF Yohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne    
DNS Gorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil - DCM Procycling Team