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Voeckler victorious at Cholet-Pays De Loire with late attack

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Europe Tour leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) wins Cholet-Pays de Loire with a perfectly-timed attack.

Europe Tour leader Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) wins Cholet-Pays de Loire with a perfectly-timed attack.
(Image credit: Fabrice Lambert)
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Yukiya Arashiro (Team Europcar)

Yukiya Arashiro (Team Europcar)
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
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Race winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) congratulated by the mayor of Cholet, Gilles Bourdouleix.

Race winner Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) congratulated by the mayor of Cholet, Gilles Bourdouleix.
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
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Thomas Voeckler was a worthy winner for the second leg of the French Cup.

Thomas Voeckler was a worthy winner for the second leg of the French Cup.
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Preben van Hecke won the mountain prize.

Preben van Hecke won the mountain prize.
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An all French podium with Tony Gallopin, Thomas Voeckler and Benjamin Giraud

An all French podium with Tony Gallopin, Thomas Voeckler and Benjamin Giraud
(Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
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Cholet-Pays de Loire podium (l-r): Tony Gallopin (Cofidis), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Benjamin Giraud (Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille)

Cholet-Pays de Loire podium (l-r): Tony Gallopin (Cofidis), Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) and Benjamin Giraud (Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille)
(Image credit: Fabrice Lambert)
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French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) on the podium.

French champion Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) on the podium.
(Image credit: Fabrice Lambert)

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.

Full Results
1Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar4:49:36
2Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
3Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille
4Mathieu Drujon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
5Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
6James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
7Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
8Egoitz Garcia Echeguibel (Spa) Caja Rural
9Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
10Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
11Jonas Aaen Jörgensen (Den) Saxo Bank Sungard
12Saïd Haddou (Fra) Team Europcar
13Pim Ligthart (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
14Thierry Hupond (Fra) Skil - Shimano
15Geert Steurs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
16Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
17Gregory Habeaux (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
18Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
19Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
20Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar
21Davy Commeyne (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
22Pieter Jacobs (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
23Laurent Didier (Lux) Saxo Bank Sungard
24Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ
25Romain Lemarchand (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
26Geert Verheyen (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
27Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
28Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
29Justin Jules (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille
30Sébastien Delfosse (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
31Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
32Julien Berard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
33Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
34Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
35Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
36Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ
37Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ
38Martijn Keizer (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
39Maxime Mederel (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
40Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ
41Sander Armee (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
42Matthieu Sprick (Fra) Skil - Shimano
43Marcello Pavarin (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
44Julien Guay (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
45Toms Skujinš (Lat) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille
46Dimitri Le Boulch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
47Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
48Stéphane Bonsergent (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
49Jonathan Patrick McCarty (USA) Team Spidertech Powered By C10
50Jérôme Baugnies (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
51Johan Coenen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
52Matthieu Boulo (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
53Bert Scheirlinckx (Bel) Landbouwkrediet
54Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
55Thomas Degand (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
56Yohann Gene (Fra) Team Europcar
57Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
58Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
59Will Routley (Can) Team Spidertech Powered By C10
60Julien Loubet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
61Yohan Cauquil (Fra) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille
62Kevin Lalouette (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
63Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
64Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Skil - Shimano
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 - Schuller
69Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ0:00:22
70Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team0:00:30
71Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Veranda's Willems - Accent
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 Sungard
80Thomas Vernaeckt (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
81Jurgen Van Goolen (Bel) Veranda's Willems - Accent
82Flavio De Luna (Mex) Team Spidertech Powered By C10
83Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
84Jimmy Casper (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
85Julien Fouchard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
86Jean Marc Marino (Fra) Saur - Sojasun
87Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
88Marcel Kittel (Ger) Skil - Shimano
89Guillemo Lana Baquedano (Spa) Caja Rural
90Alexander Riabkin (Rus) Caja Rural
91Daniel Diaz (Arg) Velo-Club La Pomme Marseille
92Ruben Reig Conejero (Spa) Caja Rural
93Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Caja Rural
94Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
95Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
96Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
97Yukihiro Doi (Jpn) Skil - Shimano0:05:49
98Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar
99Thomas Damuseau (Fra) Skil - Shimano0:05:51
100Anthony Colin (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
101Florian Le Corre (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:08:27
102Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) FDJ0:09:58
103Arnaud Courteille (Fra) FDJ0:12:36
104Ruben Martinez (Spa) Caja Rural0:12:53
105Garikoitz Bravo Oiarbide (Spa) Caja Rural
106Jerome Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar0:14:18
107Thomas Bonnin (Fra) Skil - Shimano
DNFSteven Van Vooren (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator
DNFReinier Honig (Ned) Landbouwkrediet
DNFEric Berthou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
DNFArmindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
DNFDavid Boily (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10
DNFBruno Langlois (Can) Team Spidertech Powered by C10
DNFJohn Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFArnaud Molmy (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
DNFJonathan Thire (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
DNFEvaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Velo Club La Pomme-Marseille
DNFGuillaume Faucon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
DNFLieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil - DCM Procycling Team
DNFRafal Majka (Pol) Saxo Bank SunGard
DNFDamien Monier (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne
DNFJean Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne
DNFThomas Vaubourzeix (Fra) Velo Club La Pomme-Marseille
DNFLucas Euser (USA) Team Spidertech Powered by C10
DNFOleg Chuzhda (Ukr) Caja Rural
DNFLaurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
DNFCyril Dessel (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFYohan Bagot (Fra) Cofidis le Crédit en Ligne
DNSGorik Gardeyn (Bel) Vacansoleil - DCM Procycling Team

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