Bryan Coquard (Europcar) came a hair’s breadth from taking his second victory on the road in 2015 on Friday. The Frenchman got the jump on the peloton in the twisting uphill finish at Rasteau on stage five of Paris-Nice. A slight build for a sprinter, Coquard accelerated away and looked like he may hold on to take the win, but saw Davide Cimolai (Lampre-Merida) sprint out from his wheel as he faded in the final metres.
“I am very, very, very disappointed but I did not have enough composure. I launched my sprint at 400 meters, a bit far. I saw (Cimolai) in my wheel in the last hundred and fifty meters, but I had no choice, I had to continue my sprint. I tried to put in a dig but I had already been sprinting for 250 meters,” Coquard told L’Équipe following the stage.
Paris-Nice is the third race for Coquard since winning the Madison title with Morgan Kneisky at the Track World Championships last month, with starts at one-day races Kuurne-Brussells-Kuurne and Le Samyn. His performance on the track has attracted the attention of a number of WorldTour teams and his performances in the next part of the season will receive much more scrutiny.
Coquard finished third on the opening sprint stage of Paris-Nice in Contres behind Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and his compatriot Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis), before taking the runner’s up prize on stage 5. While disappointed not to take to the top step of the podium this week, Coquard is pleased with his consistency and has turned his focus on the Volta a Catalunya in just over a week.
“I wanted to win here, but there are three weeks I was at the world track championships and it proves that it is not inconsistent. For me, Paris-Nice is over this evening (following stage five), but I will focus on Catalunya I think there will be stages there for me,” he said.