Gaudin wins Tro-Bro Leon

Armee de Terre rider out-sprints breakaway companion Backaert

Damien Gaudin (Armée de Terre) sealed the victory in Monday's Tro-Bro Léon, out-sprinting Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) out of the two man breakaway. Benjamin Giraud (Delko Marseille) won the sprint for third.

The leading duo had just seconds on the peloton as they rode under the 1km-to-go to go banner, but they managed to hold off the sprint behind by seven seconds. It was Gaudin's second win of a renaissance season that also included a stage victory in the Tour de Normandie. Before stepping down from the WorldTour this season, Gaudin's last win was the Cholet - Pays De Loire in 2013.

The former AG2R-La Mondiale rider wanted to prove himself on the gravel roads of Brittany one week after Paris-Roubaix as he missed his favorite classic due to his relegation in a third division team. He did so emphatically at Tro-Bro Léon, claiming Armée de Terre's second win in the French Cup series in three days after Julien Loubet came first at the Tour du Finistère on Saturday.

"Cycling is a difficult sport," Gaudin commented after his win. "When you work in the shadow with no reward, it's a pain in the arse. Last week I was so bitter that I didn't even watch TV. I went to train hard instead because I wanted to show that Gaudin can still be a bike rider. I looked at the results of Paris-Roubaix in the evening though."

When he did get around to checking the final standings, Gaudin would see the names of Greg Van Avermaet and Zdenek Stybar in the first two positions; when Gaudin finished fifth in Roubaix in 2013, Van Avermaet was fourth and Stybar sixth. Then riding for Europcar, Gaudin joined AG2R-La Mondiale for the following three seasons but his contract wasn't renewed at the end of last year, hence his move to the Armée de Terre, the Continental team of the French army.

"During the off season, I told them that the Tro-Bro Léon would be our Paris-Roubaix this year, as we don't qualify for Paris-Roubaix as a continental team," Gaudin said. "End of March and April is always my best period. After the GP Denain on Thursday, I flew to Brest to prepare for the Tro-Bro Léon the same way I used to prepare for Paris-Roubaix. I reconned the whole 180km of the course."

"In 2013, I won the prologue of Paris-Nice and Cholet-Pays de Loire, which is my home race," he said. "But today it's my most beautiful victory. The Tro-Bro Léon is mythical. It's a second Paris-Roubaix." Aged 30, the Frenchman hasn't given up his dreams in the Hell of the North. "I've come fifth in Roubaix, I can make the podium, I can even win it one day," he insisted.

A few minutes after winning Tro-Bro Léon, he received a congratulatory message from French defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who has been a driving force behind the army team. The manner in which Gaudin claimed Monday's win was a convincing one, as he rode away with 50 kilometres to go.

"When I found myself at the front with Frederik Backaert, I knew he was someone who rides hard like me," he said. "He was the right companion to have. Only in the last lap he wasn't pulling anymore."

With FDJ doing most of the work and mainly Matthieu Ladagnous chasing to bridge the gap for a sprint finish to favor Arnaud Démare, the leading duo was just 15 seconds ahead with three kilometres to go. "I thought we'd come across because FDJ and AG2R-La Mondiale both rode for that," third-placed Benjamin Giraud of told Cyclingnews. "They were very strong at the front. I'm very happy to be third."

Backaert, on the other hand, wasn't content wth his podium spot. "I'm very disappointed because the Tro-Bro Léon is the nicest race of the year for me," he said. "I don't know how to sprint. Maybe I sprinted from too far out."

Laurent Pichon of Fortuneo-Vital Concept finished fourth to retain the lead in the French Cup standings.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Damien Gaudin (Fra) Armee de Terre4:50:22 
2Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:02 
3Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:00:07 
4Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
5Kevin Le Cunff (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93  
6Mathias De Witte (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
7Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ  
8Damien Touze (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93  
9Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie  
10Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
11Fabien Canal (Fra) Armee de Terre  
12Julien Loubet (Fra) Armee de Terre  
13Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
14Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
15Erwann Corbel (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
16Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
17Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
18Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias  
19Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:10 
20Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
21Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
22Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:27 
23Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ0:00:35 
24Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ0:01:08 
25Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:12 
26Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy  
27Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:14 
28Félix Pouilly (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole0:01:42 
29Thibault Ferasse (Fra) Armee de Terre  
30Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
31Alo Jakin (Est) HP BTP - Auber 93  
32Angel Madrazo (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:01:44 
33Connor Swift (GBr) Madison Genesis  
34Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ0:01:49 
35Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:51 
36Gaetan Bille (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:04:08 
37Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Joker Icopal0:04:11 
38Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy  
39Jeremy Cornu (Fra) Direct Energie0:04:16 
40Torkil Veyhe (Den) Coloquick - Cult0:04:23 
41Dennis Bakker (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam0:05:23 
42Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Cibel - Cebon0:05:28 
43Thierry Hupond (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
44Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias  
45Jonathan McEvoy (GBr) Madison Genesis  
46Kevin De Jonghe (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
47Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie  
48Robby Cobbaert (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
49Beñat Txoperena Matxikote (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias  
50Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
51Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
52Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
53Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:05:33 
54Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:37 
55Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana Postobon  
56Ike Groen (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam0:09:17 
57Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:10:23 
58Martin Mortensen (Den) Coloquick - Cult  
59Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
60Tyler Williams (USA) Israel Cycling Academy0:10:55 
61Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale  
62Christian Moberg Jörgensen (Den) Coloquick - Cult  
63Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
64Gotzon Udondo Santamaria (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias0:13:54 
DNFRune Almindso Andersen (Den) Coloquick - Cult  
DNFMagnus Bak Klaris (Den) Coloquick - Cult  
DNFDennis Herforth Jensen (Den) Coloquick - Cult  
DNFMathias Krigbaum (Den) Coloquick - Cult  
DNFRasmus Wallin (Den) Coloquick - Cult  
DNFSamuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFSondre Holst Enger (Nor) AG2R La Mondiale  
DNFMarc Fournier (Fra) FDJ  
DNFDaniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ  
DNFLorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ  
DNFMarc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ  
DNFRayane Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFDorian Godon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFMathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFClement Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits  
DNFRomain Lemarchand (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFYannick Martinez (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFGatis Smukulis (Lat) Delko Marseille Provence KTM  
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFBryan Nauleau (Fra) Direct Energie  
DNFBenoit Jarrier (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFFrancis Mourey (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept  
DNFDan Craven (Nam) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFBenjamin Perry (Can) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFKrists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFHamish Schreurs (NZl) Israel Cycling Academy  
DNFYecid Arturo Sierra (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFJuan Jose Amador (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFJuan Pablo Villegas (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFJhojan Garcia (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFSergio Andres Higuita (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFJuan Sebastian Molano (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFBernardo Suaza (Col) Manzana Postobon  
DNFSander Cordeel (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFChristophe Prémont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFStef Van Zummeren (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFMichael Goolaerts (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFAidis Kruopis (Ltu) Veranda's Willems Crelan  
DNFSimone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFRobin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert  
DNFJimmy Raibaud (Fra) Armee de Terre  
DNFKevin Lebreton (Fra) Armee de Terre  
DNFStéphane Poulhies (Fra) Armee de Terre  
DNFYannis Yssaad (Fra) Armee de Terre  
DNFNicolas Baldo (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93  
DNFFlavien Dassonville (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93  
DNFPierre Gouault (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93  
DNFAnthony Maldonado (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93  
DNFJeremy Bescond (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93  
DNFJeremy Cabot (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
DNFJoeri Calleeuw (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
DNFJérémy Leveau (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
DNFLander Seynaeve (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole  
DNFWim Reynaerts (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
DNFBrecht Ruyters (Bel) Cibel - Cebon  
DNFLuuc Bugter (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam  
DNFMitchell Mulhern (Aus) Delta Cycling Rotterdam  
DNFPastoor Gerco (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam  
DNFJordi Talen (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam  
DNFJens Van Den Dool (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam  
DNFAritz Bagues Kalparsoro (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias  
DNFAdrian Gonzalez Velasco (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias  
DNFEneko Lizarralde Delgado (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias  
DNFPello Olaberria Arruabarrena (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias  
DNFVegard Breen (Nor) Joker Icopal  
DNFMarkus Hoelgaard (Nor) Joker Icopal  
DNFBjorn Tore Hoem (Nor) Joker Icopal  
DNFIver Johan Knotten (Nor) Joker Icopal  
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Joker Icopal  
DNFAdrian Aas Stien (Nor) Joker Icopal  
DNFAlexandre Blain (Fra) Madison Genesis  
DNFMatthew Cronshaw (GBr) Madison Genesis  
DNFRichard Handley (GBr) Madison Genesis  
DNFTobyn Horton (GBr) Madison Genesis  
DNFErick Rowsell (GBr) Madison Genesis  
DNFTaylor Karl Gunman (NZl) Madison Genesis  
Mountains classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Félix Pouilly (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole5 pts
2Torkil Veyhe (Den) Coloquick - Cult5 
3Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert3 
4Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM3 
5Julien Loubet (Fra) Armee de Terre1 

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