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Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France – Live report

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Bora-Hansgrohe withdraw from Bretagne Classic due to positive COVID-19 test

Lizzie Deignan wins GP de Plouay

Result

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 6:01:15

2 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott

3 Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep

4 Aime De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert

5 Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Nippo Delko Provence

6 Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo

7 Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team Sunweb

8 Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic

9 Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

10 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain McLaren

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Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France. Racing is already underway in Brittany, but there's plenty of action to come today.

Three teams are missing from today's race.

Bora-Hansgrohe withdrew after a rider tested positive for COVID-19 this morning.

Team Ineos and Jumbo-Visma both decided against participating. According to UCI rules, the teams run the risk of a fine between 10,000 and 20,000CHF if their absence is ruled to be unjustified, or they had previously agreed their absence with the organisers

141km to go

Eight men are in today's break. They are Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Floris De Tier (Alpecin-Fenix), Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team), Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Astana), Alexander Cataford (Israel Start-Up Nation), Julien Morice and Maxime Cam (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept).

The group is 3:30 up on the peloton after 108km of racing.

Cam and Morice are both local men, hailing from Landerneau and Vannes respectively.

EF Pro Cycling, Team Sunweb and UAE Team Emirates are among the teams making the pace at the front of the peloton.

The trio of teams look to be working for reigning champion Sep Vanmarcke, Michael Matthews and Fernando Gaviria today.

We've had plenty of abandons already today.

Stijn Vandenbergh (AG2R La Mondiale), Jonathan Hivert and Romain Cardis (Total Direct Energie), Michael Carbel (NTT Pro Cycling), Charlie Quarterman and Matteo Moschetti (Trek-Segafredo), Mathias Le Turnier and Piet Allegaert (Cofidis), Fabien Doubey and Boy Van Poppel (Circus-Wanty Gobert), and Jasha Sütterlin (Team Sunweb) have all ended their race early.

Doubey is the most recent after he was involved in a crash with Cofidis rider Dimitri Claeys.

Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo) won the women's race earlier.

Read our report and check out the full results here.

PLOUAY FRANCE AUGUST 25 Arrival Elisabeth DeignanArmitstead of The United Kingdom and Team Trek Segafredo Celebration Elizabeth Banks of The United Kingdom and Equipe Paule Ka during the 19th GP de Plouay Lorient Agglomeration Trophee WNT 2020 a 1011km race from Plouay to Plouay GrandPrixPlouay GPPlouay on August 25 2020 in Plouay France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

133km to go

Back to the men's race and Mitchelton-Scott and Arkéa-Samsic are both working at the front with EF, UAE and Sunweb. The gap to the break remains stable.

The riders covered 38km in the third hour of the race, while the average speed so far is 41.4kph. A headwind slowed progress but that seems to have died down a little now.

122km to go

Morice has been dropped from the break. Seven men left up front now.

A list of the climbs still to come today...

  • Kerdoret (1.7km at 6.3 per cent), 107km to go
  • Côte de Bon Repos (1.7km at 7.7 per cent), 80km to go
  • Botcoët (1.7km at 5.2 per cent), 52km to go
  • Kerhoat (1.4km at 5.8 per cent), 22km to go
  • Restergal (1km at 4.6 per cent), 16km to go
  • Côte du Lezot (0.9km at 4.9 per cent), 12km to go
  • Restergal (1km at 5.1 per cent), 3km to go

Maxime Can has now lost contact with the break on these rolling hills as they head south back to Ploay. That's both Vital Concept riders gone.

112km to go

Morice is back in the peloton now. Six left up front with Cam in between the two groups.

The break hits the climb of Kerdoret (1.7km at 6.3 per cent).

100km to go

There's now three minutes between break and peloton after 144km of racing.

EF, Mitchelton-Scott and Sunweb remain at the head of the peloton.

81km to go

The pace has suddenly upped in the peloton, and the gap to the break is quickly down to 1:50.

Portugal's new road race champion Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) has abandoned the race.

Some rough roads here. There's grass down the middle in sections.

Cavagna has decided to attack the break, just after the riders passed through a feed zone.

De Tier is hanging on but nobody else has managed to follow the Frenchman.

72km to go

Clarke and Rosskopf are with De Tier, the trio still chasing Cavagna.

Alexander Cataford, who still had a musette slung around his shoulder when Cavagna attacked, is brought back by the peloton.

66km to go

Cavagna is still out there alone. Rosskopf and De Tier chasing but they're 30 seconds down. Clarke and Bizighitov are caught by the peloton.

It's over for De Tier and Rosskopf as they're brought back by the peloton. Cavagna remains out front, leading by 50 seconds.

55km to go

The peloton has eased up a little. 1:10 to Cavagna now.

The riders are on Botcoët (1.7km at 5.2 per cent) now. There's a very steep section in the middle, which has seen Dries De Bont (Alpecin-Fenix) push on.

A group has followed De Bondt. Neo-pro Quinn Simmons (Trek-Segafredo) is leading the move now.

Cavagna's advantage has come down to 50 seconds now. The peloton are closing in on the attack group, who are just a few seconds up on the peloton.

48km to go

Just 30 seconds for Cavagna now. The move was brought back but riders are still on the front pushing the pace.

And Cavagna is caught after almost 200km at the head of the race. A counter-attack quickly goes.

41km to go

Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) and Albert Torres (Movistar) have made a move.

The trio have quickly built a 45-second gap. EF and Deceuninck-QuickStep work att the front of the peloton.

34km to go

Tom Scully (EF) leads the peloton. The gap to the attacking trio is 50 seconds now.

EF and Deceuninck-QuickStep are doing a nice job at eroding the break's advantage here.

Kerhoat (1.4km at 5.8 per cent) will be the next climb for the riders to tackle, at 22km to go.

The work of the peloton has seen the gap brought down to under 30 seconds now. Trek-Segafredo are up front, too.

25km to go

20 seconds for Vanhoucke, Torres and Stannard now. They won't last too much longer.

And they hit the slopes of Kerhoat. The break is almost caught.

22km to go

They're caught, and Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) counters. Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates) follows the Frenchman.

The attackers are back with the peloton now. Riders are still trying to make moves off the front.

It's all strung out on the downhill as a rider from Circus-Wanty Gobert pushes on.

Aime De Gendt and Jan Bakelants both had a go for the Belgian team.

17km to go

The climb of Restergal (1km at 4.6 per cent) is up now. The riders have entered the finishing circuit, and will pass through the finish with 13km to go.

Ivan Cortina (Bahrain McLaren), Ruben Guerreiro (EF Pro Cycling), Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ), Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal) are all at the front of the peloton.

Over the top of the climb now, and Mitchelton-Scott send a few men to the front of the peloton.

13km to go

A move from Alpecin-Fenix on that descent. It could be Scott Thwaites.

It is number 47, Scott Thwaites. He has a small gap but riders are attacking behind him.

They're on the penultimat climb now – the Côte du Lezot (0.9km at 4.9 per cent).

A group of six has jumped away. Ivan Cortina (Bahrain McLaren) is in there.

11km to go

The six riders catch Thwaites. There are no EF or Deceuninck-QuickStep riders in the move.

Sergio Henao (UAE Taem Emirates) is in there, sitting on. Jan Bakelants (Circus-Wanty Gobert) and Dimitri Claeys (Cofidis) are there too, along with Romain Seigle (Groupama-FDJ) and Delio Fernandez (Nippo Delko One Provence).

9km to go

They gave it a go but the peloton have brought them back now.

Seigle continues to attack, though, as a Cofidis rider chases.

7km to go

Victor Lafay (Cofidis) is out front, but only has a small gap. Nothing is sticking at the moment.

5km to go

20 seconds for Lafay after a spot of aero descending. That gap went up pretty quickly there.

4km to go

UAE Team Emirates are working on the front of the peloton. 15 seconds now.

The final climb is upon Lafay. It's another ascent of Restergal (1km at 5.1 per cent).

3.5km to go

Lafay is on the uphill now. Henao leads the peloton just 10 seconds back.

3km to go

It's a great effort by Lafay but he won't make it to the end. The peloton is closing in.

Lafay sits up. It's over for the Frenchman. Stan Dewulf (Lotto Soudal) counters.

2.5km to go

An attack from Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and a rider from Nippo Delko One Provence now. Sénéchal takes the lead.

2km to go

The duo don't have much of a gap to the peloton. Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) is near the front of the peloton. Ominous.

1.5km to go

Another small group of riders has gone off the front, catching the Senechal duo.

1km to go

Around eight riders up front, a few seconds up on the peloton.

Sunweb look like they're messing this up! Matthews' leadout man Nils Eekhoff was dragging Sénéchal away from the group there.

But he slows it down on the dowhill before the drag to the line. Matthews gets back.

Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) opens up the sprint but Matthews comes from behind.

And it's Matthews who takes the win! He eased to victory there, having enough time to sit up and celebrate as he crossed the line.

Matthews wins it ahead of Mezgec and Sénéchal.

Eekhoff led things out on the uphill drag, with Sénéchal behind him. Mezgec was first to jump from third wheel, while Matthews diligently followed.

Nobody else was close to the duo, and Matthews came around with time to spare to win. 

Matthews has fully recovered from the injury suffered at the end of Milan-San Remo, then. He scraped his hand on the Poggio after being blocked into the wall.

Despite that he managed to win the sprint for third, even though he couldn't hold his handlebars properly.

This was his second race day since the restart, and he looks in great form for the Tour de France. Only Sunweb haven't included him in their Tour squad...

Here's the top 10 today:

1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 6:01:15

2 Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott

3 Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep

4 Aime De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert

5 Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Nippo Delko Provence

6 Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo

7 Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team Sunweb

8 Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic

9 Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ

10 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain McLaren

And here's what Matthews had to say after the finish:

"Luka [Mezgec] had to go early in the sprint so I could wait. I just timed my sprint to perfection, I guess.

"After my crash in Milan-San Remo it was difficult for my head. I knew that I had really good shape but to come back here, for my second race after lockdown, I’m really happy."

Matthews celebrating his victory shortly after the finish.

PLOUAY FRANCE AUGUST 25 Arrival Michael Matthews of Australia and Team Sunweb Celebration during the 84th Bretagne Classic OuestFrance 2020 a 2478km race from Plouay to Plouay GrandPrixPlouay GPPlouay on August 25 2020 in Plouay France Photo by Luc ClaessenGetty Images

(Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Our brief race report, along with a photo gallery and results, is up. Check back later for the full report.

Don't forget to check out our coverage of the women's race too.

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