Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) sucked on his thumb and shouted 'Oui! Oui! Ouii!!' after winning the opening stage of the Giro del Trentino. The Frenchman was celebrating both his first victory for more than two years and his impending fatherhood.
The friendly Bouet beat Josef Cerny (CCC Polsat) and Michael Rodriguez Galindo (Colombia) in a three-rider sprint after being part of the eight-rider breakaway that dominated the 128.5km stage and finished a massive 6:51 ahead of the main peloton and the big name favourites.
"It's incredible. I didn’t want to go in the break, I wanted a quiet day but then when we got a gap, I thought I could win," Bouet said, still beaming with happiness and proud to be wearing the race leader's fuchsia leader's jersey.
"I sucked my thumb as sign for my wife. Our baby is due in August and so I'm really happy. We're going to call her Victoria.
"My last win was two years ago. I go in a lot of breaks but rarely win. Today was my lucky day and I won. I'm fast in small group. In the finale, the other two with me were on my wheel and so it was a bit difficult but I was confident I'd get it."
Thanks to time bonuses of six, four and two seconds, and with the peloton unwilling to actively chase the break during the stage, Bouet has a 6:57 lead on the overall contenders. He finished seventh overall in the recent Critérium International and so could be a real contender to win the Giro del Trentino.
"I haven’t raced for three weeks due to an Achilles problem and so I think I'll suffer on the climbs but if I've still got four or five minutes after tomorrow's (Wednesday's) stage, I can perhaps think of the GC. However we've also got Pozzovivo for the GC. Fro now I'm just happy to have the leader's jersey."
Before thinking about the mountain stages, Bouet and his Ag2r-La Mondiale teammates will have to defend is lead in the afternoon team time trial. Cerny is just two seconds down overall, with Rodriguez at four seconds.
The Colombian team is unlikely to be a threat in the 14.1km team time trial. However the CCC Polsat team includes some strong rouleurs and the experienced former doper Davide Rebellin, who is continuing his professional career at the age of 41.
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