Voeckler victorious at Cholet-Pays De Loire with late attack

Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) has won the second leg of the French Cup, the 24th GP Cholet-Pays de Loire, less than 50 kilometres away from his home in Vendée.

The French champion anticipated the bunch sprint by breaking away solo just before the 3km to go mark. He gained a 10-second lead and barely held off a charging peloton at the finish line. It was a fully French podium with young guns Tony Gallopin (Cofidis) and Benjamin Giraud from the new Continental team La Pomme-Marseille taking second and third place.

"After my two stage wins at Paris-Nice, I realized yesterday at the Classic Loire-Atlantique that it was difficult to win with the benchmark of race favourite," Voeckler said in Cholet. "In the evening I spoke to Anthony Charteau who told me 'if you're marked so much, just wait for the last three kilometres'."

Voeckler followed the advice of his teammate who has been sidelined since he dislocated his shoulder at the Tour of South Africa. Charteau, who was the king of the mountains at last year's Tour de France, will resume racing at the Criterium International next week while Voeckler will battle in Belgium at the GP E3.

"I had my tactic in mind and I didn't change," Voeckler said. "I felt the crowd behind me and it helped me drastically."

But the crowd expressed their displeasure with the French champion's obligation to wear the white jersey as leader of the UCI Europe Tour rather than his iconic blue-white-red national champion's jersey. Gilles Bourdouleix, the mayor of Cholet, who is also Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme's brother-in-law, commented on the issue. "This is an insult to our national colours, they should be respected," he said.

However, the GP Cholet-Pays de Loire was another popular success with big crowds on the roadsides in the vineyards of the Anjou region. There was a long-lasting breakaway with Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank SunGard), Frederik Veuchelen (Vacansoleil-DCM), Cédric Pineau (FDJ), Jérôme Cousin (Team Europcar), Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun), Johannes Frohlinger (Skil-Shimano), Preben Van Hecke (TopSport Vlaanderen) and Armindo Fonseca and Laurent Pichon (Bretagne Schuller).

Van Hecke crossed each of the categorised climbs in first position to secure the mountain price victory. The peloton allowed them a maximum lead of 5:30 but their advantage went down to two minutes at the beginning of the last hour of racing under the action of Cofidis, who didn't have a rider in the break.

With 20km to go, soon after the regrouping, Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) and Pieter Jacobs (TopSport Vlaanderen) attacked. The pair stayed away for 15 kilometres with the Belgian resisting the peloton longer than his breakaway companion. Moments after Jacobs was absorbed Voeckler launched his spectacular and decisive attack.

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Full Results
1Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar4:49:36
2Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 1 - Cell 2
3Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 2 - Cell 2
4Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 3 - Cell 2
5Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 4 - Cell 2
6James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 5 - Cell 2
7Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 6 - Cell 2
8Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Caja RuralRow 7 - Cell 2
9Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 8 - Cell 2
10Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 9 - Cell 2
11Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank SungardRow 10 - Cell 2
12Saïd Haddou (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 11 - Cell 2
13Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 12 - Cell 2
14Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - ShimanoRow 13 - Cell 2
15Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 14 - Cell 2
16Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 15 - Cell 2
17Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 16 - Cell 2
18Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 17 - Cell 2
19Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 18 - Cell 2
20Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 19 - Cell 2
21Davy Commeyne (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 20 - Cell 2
22Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 21 - Cell 2
23Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank SungardRow 22 - Cell 2
24Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJRow 23 - Cell 2
25Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 24 - Cell 2
26Geert Verheyen (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 25 - Cell 2
27Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 26 - Cell 2
28Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 27 - Cell 2
29Justin Jules (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 28 - Cell 2
30Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 29 - Cell 2
31Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 30 - Cell 2
32Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 31 - Cell 2
33Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 32 - Cell 2
34Koen Barbe (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 33 - Cell 2
35Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 34 - Cell 2
36Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJRow 35 - Cell 2
37Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJRow 36 - Cell 2
38Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 37 - Cell 2
39Maxime Mederel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 38 - Cell 2
40Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJRow 39 - Cell 2
41Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 40 - Cell 2
42Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Skil - ShimanoRow 41 - Cell 2
43Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 42 - Cell 2
44Julien Guay (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 43 - Cell 2
45Toms Skujinš (Lat) Velo-Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 44 - Cell 2
46Dimitri Le Boulch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 45 - Cell 2
47Bert De Waele (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 46 - Cell 2
48Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 47 - Cell 2
49Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 48 - Cell 2
50Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 49 - Cell 2
51Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 50 - Cell 2
52Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 51 - Cell 2
53Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 52 - Cell 2
54Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 53 - Cell 2
55Thomas Degand (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 54 - Cell 2
56Yohann Gene (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 55 - Cell 2
57Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 56 - Cell 2
58Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 57 - Cell 2
59Will Routley (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 58 - Cell 2
60Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 59 - Cell 2
61Yohan Cauquil (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 60 - Cell 2
62Kevin Lalouette (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 61 - Cell 2
63Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 62 - Cell 2
64Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Skil - ShimanoRow 63 - Cell 2
65Luke Roberts (Aus) Saxo Bank Sungard0:00:13
66Frédéric Amorison (Bel) Landbouwkrediet0:00:17
67Dimitri Champion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:19
68Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 67 - Cell 2
69Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ0:00:22
70Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:30
71Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 70 - Cell 2
72Damien Gaudin (Fra) Team Europcar0:00:42
73Yann Huguet (Fra) Skil - Shimano0:00:49
74Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) FDJ0:00:58
75Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - Sojasun0:01:02
76Manuele Boaro (Ita) Saxo Bank Sungard0:03:36
77Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator0:03:39
78Mads Christensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard0:04:43
79Jaroslaw Marycz (Pol) Saxo Bank SungardRow 78 - Cell 2
80Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 79 - Cell 2
81Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Veranda's Willems - AccentRow 80 - Cell 2
82Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team Spidertech Powered By C10Row 81 - Cell 2
83Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 82 - Cell 2
84Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 83 - Cell 2
85Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En LigneRow 84 - Cell 2
86Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 85 - Cell 2
87Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La MondialeRow 86 - Cell 2
88Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil - ShimanoRow 87 - Cell 2
89Guillemo Lana Baquedano (Spa) Caja RuralRow 88 - Cell 2
90Alexander Riabkin (Rus) Caja RuralRow 89 - Cell 2
91Daniel Diaz (Arg) Velo-Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 90 - Cell 2
92Ruben Reig Conejero (Spa) Caja RuralRow 91 - Cell 2
93Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Caja RuralRow 92 - Cell 2
94Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 93 - Cell 2
95Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La MondialeRow 94 - Cell 2
96Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 95 - Cell 2
97Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil - Shimano0:05:49
98Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 97 - Cell 2
99Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Skil - Shimano0:05:51
100Anthony Colin (Fra) Roubaix Lille MetropoleRow 99 - Cell 2
101Florian Le Corre (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:08:27
102Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ0:09:58
103