Matthews wins Bretagne Classic - Ouest-France

Michael Matthews (Sunweb) took a convincing win in the Bretagne Classic ahead of Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) with Florian Sénéchal (Deceuninck - Quick Step) in third.

The race was peppered with attacks throughout the final 100km of racing but it came down to a cagy sprint finish from a small group after Matthew’s teammate Nils Eekhoff split the field with a strong surge before the line. The Dutch rider’s efforts almost proved too much after he went clear with Sénéchal, but he eased up just before the sprint to allow Matthews back into the fray.

In the sprint, there was little contest with Mezgec going early before Matthews came off his former teammate’s wheel and switched to the other side of the road.

"Luca had to go early in the sprint so I could wait. I just timed my sprint to perfection, I guess," Matthews said at the finish.

"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 was a thoroughly deserving winner. He used up as little energy as possible in the closing stages, and held off the temptation to jump into any of the dangerous attacks before the finish. His team, to their credit, were tactically astute with first-year pro Eekhoff lifting the pace in the finale before Matthews came through to take his first win since the Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec last September. 

The 29-year-old can now add another WorldTour win to is growing palmares before he takes a break and returns for both Tirreno-Adriatico and then the Giro d'Italia.

How it unfolded

The main action began when Remi Cavagna (Deceuninck-QuickStep), Floris De Tier (Alpecin-Fenix), Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team), Will Clarke (Trek-Segafredo), Zhandos Bizhigitov (Astana), and Alexander Cataford (Israel Start-Up Nation) formed the early break and quickly established a three-minute lead over the peloton. The race had started under a cloud after the entire Bora-hansgrohe squad had pulled out after one of their riders tested positive for COVID-19. That didn’t hamper the action as EF Pro Cycling, and UAE Team Emirates held the break and slowly reduced the lead to under 1:20.

Cavagna, clearly the strongest, but also more concerned with the number of Watts he could produce, rather than the number of friends he could win in the peloton, attacked through the feedzone inside the last 80km with only Rosskopf and De Tier able or willing to mount any form of chase.

With 45km to go the Deceuninck rider was caught as the peloton saw wave after wave of attacks reduce the gap. A few kilometres later, Harm Vanhoucke (Lotto Soudal), Robert Stannard (Mitchelton-Scott) and Albert Torres (Movistar) made a move and the trio at least managed to create some daylight between themselves and the peloton. The group, however, were soon caught, with Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ) countering alongside Sergio Henao (UAE Team Emirates).

Once more the peloton brought the leading group back into their clutches, before another round of attacks reduced the main field to less than 45 riders. Scott Thwaites (Alpecin-Fenix) attacked with purpose with 13km to go but he was overhauled by Romain Seigle (Groupama-FDJ) and then Victor Lafay (Cofidis) as Henao and the rest of the UAE Team Emirates looked to set up their fast finisher, Jasper Philipsen.

Sénéchal attacked on the final climb but Sunweb still had the numbers to not just bring him back, but also eliminate most of Matthews’ opposition. They almost gave the win away in the finale but Matthews and Eekhoff combined to take the team’s first win since a stage in Paris-Nice, back in March.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 6:01:14
2Luka Mezgec (Slo) Mitchelton-Scott 0:00:01
3Florian Senechal (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep
4Aime De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
5Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Nippo Delko Provence
6Quinn Simmons (USA) Trek-Segafredo
7Nils Eekhoff (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:03
8Daniel McLay (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:00:05
9Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10Ivan Garcia Cortina (Spa) Bahrain McLaren
11Jasper Philipsen (Bel) UAE Team Emirates
12Eduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo Delko Provence
13Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
14Alex Kirsch (Lux) Trek-Segafredo
15Andrea Vendrame (Ita) AG2R la Mondiale
16Samuele Battistella (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
17Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
18Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Circus - Wanty Gobert
19Nathan Haas (Aus) Cofidis
20Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
21Luca Mozzato (Ita) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
22Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
23Scott Thwaites (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
24Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
25Jan Bakelants (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
26Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
27Jenthe Biermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation
28Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) EF Pro Cycling
29Ruben Guerreiro (Por) EF Pro Cycling
30Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Bahrain McLaren
31Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama-FDJ
32Pim Ligthart (Ned) Total Direct Energie
33Sander Armee (Bel) Lotto Soudal
34Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis
35Dion Smith (NZl) Mitchelton-Scott
36Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
37Marlon Gaillard (Fra) Total Direct Energie
38Delio Fernandez Cruz (Spa) Nippo Delko Provence
39Laurent Pichon (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
40Stan Dewulf (Bel) Lotto Soudal
41Sergio Luis Henao Montoya (Col) UAE Team Emirates
42Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
43Julien Vermote (Bel) Cofidis
44Alex Aranburu Deba (Spa) Astana Pro Team
45Guillaume Boivin (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:00:27
46Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:43
47Jannik Steimle (Ger) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:00:57
48Tsgabu Gebremaryam Grmay (Eth) Mitchelton-Scott
49Mikkel Bjerg (Den) UAE Team Emirates 0:01:14
50Reinardt Janse van Rensburg (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
51Kévin Geniets (Lux) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:20
52Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis 0:02:27
53Nicholas Schultz (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:03:21
54Hideto Nakane (Jpn) Nippo Delko Provence 0:03:48
55Michael Albasini (Swi) Mitchelton-Scott 0:04:01
56Harm Vanhoucke (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:04:18
57Floris De Tier (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:04:38
58Rick Zabel (Ger) Israel Start-Up Nation
59Jonathan Dibben (GBr) Lotto Soudal
60Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Astana Pro Team
61Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) CCC Team
62Rasmus Tiller (Nor) NTT Pro Cycling
63Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
64Bert Van Lerberghe (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
65Grega Bole (Slo) Bahrain McLaren
66Davide Martinelli (Ita) Astana Pro Team
67Alexander Kamp (Den) Trek-Segafredo
68Stefan De Bod (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
69Reto Hollenstein (Swi) Israel Start-Up Nation
70Johan Jacobs (Swi) Movistar Team
71Luis Guillermo Mas Bonet (Spa) Movistar Team
72Brian Van Goethem (Ned) Lotto Soudal
73Lawrence Naesen (Bel) AG2R la Mondiale
74Albert Torres Barcelo (Spa) Movistar Team
75Luka Pibernik (Slo) Bahrain McLaren 0:04:40
76Rémi Cavagna (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep 0:06:40
77Iljo Keisse (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
78Tosh Van der Sande (Bel) Lotto Soudal
79Travis McCabe (USA) Israel Start-Up Nation 0:07:11
80Robert Stannard (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott 0:09:41
81Otto Vergaerde (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:10:10
82Mitchell Docker (Aus) EF Pro Cycling
83Stijn Steels (Bel) Deceuninck-Quickstep
84Romain Le Roux (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
85Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Nippo Delko Provence 0:13:39
86William Clarke (Aus) Trek-Segafredo 0:14:06
87Charles Quarterman (GBr) Trek-Segafredo
88Nico Denz (Ger) Team Sunweb
89Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
90Frederik Backaert (Bel) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
91Hernando Bohorquez Sanchez (Col) Astana Pro Team
92Daniil Fominykh (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
93Joseph Rosskopf (USA) CCC Team
94Remy Mertz (Bel) Lotto Soudal
95Biniam Girmay Hailu (Eri) Nippo Delko Provence
96Alexander Cataford (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation
97Sebastian Mora Vedri (Spa) Movistar Team
98Kevin Inkelaar (Ned) Bahrain McLaren
99Iñigo Elosegui Momeñe (Spa) Movistar Team
100Gabriel Cullaigh (GBr) Movistar Team
101Yevgeniy Gidich (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
102Sean Bennett (USA) EF Pro Cycling
103Callum Scotson (Aus) Mitchelton-Scott
104Arnaud Courteille (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFLogan Owen (USA) EF Pro Cycling
DNFTom Scully (NZl) EF Pro Cycling
DNFZhandos Bizhigitov (Kaz) Astana Pro Team
DNFAlexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFStijn Vandenbergh (Bel) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFQuentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFPatrick Bevin (NZl) CCC Team
DNFJosef Cerny (Cze) CCC Team
DNFJonas Koch (Ger) CCC Team
DNFWilliam Barta (USA) CCC Team
DNFGuillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) CCC Team
DNFEnrico Battaglin (Ita) Bahrain McLaren
DNFSantiago Buitrago Sanchez (Col) Bahrain McLaren
DNSCesare Benedetti (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSMarcus Burghardt (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSJean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSPatrick Gamper (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSOscar Gatto (Ita) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSJay Mc Carthy (Aus) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNSIde Schelling (Ned) Bora-Hansgrohe
DNFNicholas Dlamini (RSA) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFMichael Carbel Svendgaard (Den) NTT Pro Cycling
DNSMatteo Sobrero (Ita) NTT Pro Cycling
DNFRui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFIvo Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
DNFFernando Gaviria Rendon (Col) UAE Team Emirates
DNFMaximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) UAE Team Emirates
DNFSergio Samitier Samitier (Spa) Movistar Team
DNFAlvaro Jose Hodeg Chagui (Col) Deceuninck-Quickstep
DNFRomain Cardis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFJonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFJeremy Cabot (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFSimon Sellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFDries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFPhilipp Walsleben (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFMaxime Cam (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFAdrien Garel (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFAlexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFKevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFPiet Allegaert (Bel) Cofidis
DNFMathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis
DNFFelix Gall (Aut) Team Sunweb
DNSMax Kanter (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFJasha Sütterlin (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFIlan Van Wilder (Bel) Team Sunweb
DNFEmils Liepins (Lat) Trek-Segafredo
DNFMatteo Moschetti (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
DNFFabien Doubey (Fra) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFLoïc Vliegen (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFBoy Van Poppel (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFDanny Van Poppel (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFRomain Combaud (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
DNFGuy Sagiv (Isr) Israel Start-Up Nation

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