Matteo Pelucchi (Europcar) won the final stage of the 4 Jours de Dunkerque in a bunch finish while Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) enjoyed a relatively trouble-free day to secure overall victory ahead of Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-QuickStep).
Pelucchi proved too quick for John Degenkolb (Argo-Shimano) and Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) in the sprint and duly secured his first victory as a professional. The Italian, who arrived at Europcar this winter following the collapse of the Geox-TMC squad, had shown signs of form at the Presidential Tour of Turkey, and his recent consistency was rewarded with the win in Dunkerque.
In the battle for overall honours, Engoulvent had a 43-second advantage over Stybar coming into the stage, and he successfully defended that his pink jersey on the final leg, while Degenkolb rounded out the final overall podium in third.
Engoulvent’s Saur-Sojasun team allowed a four-man break to drift up the road in the opening kilometres, happy in the knowledge that none of its number constituted a genuine threat to his overall lead. Sebastien Chavanel (Europcar), David Tanner (Saxo Bank), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (TopSport Vlaanderen) duly opened out a three-minute lead over the peloton, although Saur-Sojasun were careful to ensure that the game didn’t ever extend much further.
As the rain began to fall in the final 50 kilometres, FDJ-BigMat began to inject a little urgency to the peloton’s pursuit. Just as the bunch began to reel in the escapees, however, they received reinforcements in the form of Francesco Reda (Acqua & Sapone) and Andrey Grivko (Astana), who successfully made the juncture alone.
The gap was down to 30 seconds inside the final 20 kilometres, however, and from there on in, there was a grim inevitability about the break’s fate. Although they put up stout resistance until the 7km to go mark, they must have known they were fighting a losing battle when Argos-Skil began to wind up the pace in support of Degenkolb.
In the finishing straight, it was Degenkolb who launched his sprint from distance, while Adrien Petit (Cofidis) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) never quite the expected impact. Instead it was left to Matteo Pelucchi to move up in Degenkolb’s slipstream and then nip past him inside the final 100 metres, while Napolitano came home in third place.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Team Europcar|
|2||John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos Oil - Shimano|
|3||Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone|
|4||Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis - Le crédit en ligne|
|5||Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ - BigMat|
|6||Kenny Robert Van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling Team|
|7||Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator|
|8||Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1 - Sanofi|
|9||Jempy Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs - Willems Verandas|
|10||Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Euphony|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun||Row 0 - Cell 2|
|2||Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma - Quick Step||0:00:42|
|3||John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos Oil - Shimano||0:00:45|
|4||Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Acqua & Sapone||0:01:03|
|5||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar||0:01:05|
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