Christel Ferrier-Bruneau (Gauss) claimed the French national road race title in Boulogne-Sur-Mer, denying veteran Jeannie Longo her 59th title on a cold and rainy day.
Ferrier-Bruneau jumped away on a steep climb in the final 500m of the 109.6km race, leaving Longo behind. Magdalena de Saint Jean took the third spot from the three-rider breakaway.
The final lap was rife with attacks, with Ferrier-Bruneau and Longo each having a go, but the trio came together under the red kite to battle it out in the tough finale.
"I tried to attack on the first climb, but they came back," Ferrier-Bruneau said. "I thought I had to be careful because Longo is strong and has a lot of experience. The wall before the finish suited me and I gave it everything there."
Longo said she wasn't confident for the finish against the superior speed of Ferrier-Bruneau. "Tactically, I was positioned wrong because I found myself at the front in the final corner. I wanted to do what Christel did: to put in an attack from behind.
"Christel had a great race, It's good that she has the jersey."
A cold rain in the morning soaked the Boulogne-Sur-Mer course, making the early part of the race a nervous affair. It wasn't until the mid-point of the race that an attack finally went clear, with Joanne Duval gaining a maximum lead of 3:10 over the course of the next two laps.
With three to go, the chase began in earnest and Duval's lead slipped away as the furious pace broke the peloton to pieces behind.
Three strong women: St. Jean, Longo and Ferrier-Bruneau made the juncture to the fading Duval with two laps to go, and the escapee could not hold onto the trio's pace for long.
The three would go on to fight out the podium places, while Duval was joined by her teammate Beatrice Thomas to hold onto fourth.
|1||Christel Ferrier Bruneau||3:26:11|
|3||Magdalena De Saint Jean||0:00:18|
|14||Pauline Ferrand Prevot|
|22||Aodez Le Fourn|
|DNF||Elodie Le Bail|
|DNF||Sandra Dos Santos|