Voeckler victorious at Cholet-Pays De Loire with late attack

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
1Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar4:49:36 
2Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
3Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille  
4Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
5Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
6James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
7Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
8Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Caja Rural  
9Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
10Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
11Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard  
12Saïd Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar  
13Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
14Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
15Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
16Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
17Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
18Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
19Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
20Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar  
21Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
22Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
23Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard  
24Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ  
25Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
26Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
27Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
28Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
29Justin Jules (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille  
30Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
31Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
32Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
33Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
34Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
35Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
36Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ  
37Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ  
38Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
39Maxime Mederel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
40Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ  
41Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
42Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
43Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
44Julien Guay (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
45Toms Skujinš (Lat) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille  
46Dimitri Le Boulch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
47Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
48Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
49Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
50Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
51Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
52Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
53Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet  
54Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar  
55Thomas Degand (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
56Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar  
57Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
58Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
59Will Routley (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
60Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
61Yohan Cauquil (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille  
62Kevin Lalouette (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
63Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
64Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
65Luke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard0:00:13 
66Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:17 
67Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:19 
68Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
69Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ0:00:22 
70Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:30 
71Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
72Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:42 
73Yann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano0:00:49 
74Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ0:00:58 
75Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:01:02 
76Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard0:03:36 
77Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:03:39 
78Mads Christensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:04:43 
79Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Saxo Bank Sungard  
80Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
81Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent  
82Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team Spidertech Powered By C10  
83Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
84Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
85Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne  
86Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun  
87Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
88Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil - Shimano  
89Guillemo Lana Baquedano (Spa) Caja Rural  
90Alexander Riabkin (Rus) Caja Rural  
91Daniel Diaz (Arg) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille  
92Ruben Reig Conejero (Spa) Caja Rural  
93Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Caja Rural  
94Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team  
95Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale  
96Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
97Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil - Shimano0:05:49 
98Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar  
99Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Skil - Shimano0:05:51 
100Anthony Colin (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole  
101Florian Le Corre (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:08:27 
102Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ0:09:58 
103Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ0:12:36 
104Ruben Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural0:12:53 
105Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Caja Rural  
106Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar0:14:18 
107Thomas Bonnin (Fra) Skil - Shimano  
DNFSteven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator  
DNFReinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet  
DNFEric Berthou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
DNFArmindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
DNFDavid Boily (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10  
DNFBruno Langlois (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10  
DNFJohn Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFArnaud Molmy (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
DNFJonathan Thire (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
DNFEvaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Velo Club La Pomme-Marseille  
DNFGuillaume Faucon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93  
DNFLieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil - DCM Procycling Team  
DNFRafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank SunGard  
DNFDamien Monier (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne  
DNFJean Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne  
DNFThomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) Velo Club La Pomme-Marseille  
DNFLucas Euser (USA) Team Spidertech Powered by C10  
DNFOleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Caja Rural  
DNFLaurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller  
DNFCyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFYohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne  
DNSGorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil - DCM Procycling Team  

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