Bouhanni wins Etoile de Bessèges opener

Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) streaked to victory in Bellegarde on the opening stage of the Etoile des Bessèges, beating Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) and Bobbie Traksel (Landbouwkrediet) in a bunch finish. Kittel faded slightly having lead the bunch to the line.

The flat first stage of the French race was marked by strong crosswinds, which wreaked havoc on the peloton in the opening kilometres, with a number of echelons forming under the impetus of some early attackers. 50km in, however, order was restored thanks to the efforts of FDJ-BigMat team, and when the pace settled down, the day’s first break of substance sallied clear.

Koen Barbe (Landbouwkrediet) and Steven Van Vooren (Topsport Vlaanderen) built up a lead of five minutes after they forged up the road after 70km. Repeated counterattacking behind had the twin effect of pegging back their advantage and reducing the front of the peloton to around 80 riders as the pace rocketed up towards the finale.

10km from home, a break featuring Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen), Tony Hurel (Europcar), Jonathan Thiré (Auber 93), Anthony Delaplace and Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) ghosted off the front, but they never succeeded in gaining more than 15 seconds over a bunch controlled by Project 1t4i and FDJ-BigMat.

They were swept up before the final kilometre, and in the finishing straight, it was the 21-year-old Bouhanni got his season off to the perfect start with a well-timed effort.

Full Results

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#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ - Big Mat3:30:25
2Marcel Kittel (Ger) Project 1t4iRow 1 - Cell 2
3Bobbie Traksel (Ned) LandbouwkredietRow 2 - Cell 2
4Jean-Pierre Drucker (Lux) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 3 - Cell 2
5Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 4 - Cell 2
6Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis Le Crédit en LigneRow 5 - Cell 2
7Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 6 - Cell 2
8Yannick Martinez (Fra) Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 7 - Cell 2
9Kevyn Ista (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 8 - Cell 2
10Anthony Ravard (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 9 - Cell 2
11Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) An Post - Sean KellyRow 10 - Cell 2
12Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 11 - Cell 2
13Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 12 - Cell 2
14Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team EuropcarRow 13 - Cell 2
15Stijn Neirynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 14 - Cell 2
16Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 15 - Cell 2
17Fabien Bacquet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 16 - Cell 2
18Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ - Big MatRow 17 - Cell 2
19Renaud Dion (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 18 - Cell 2
20Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 19 - Cell 2
21Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 20 - Cell 2
22Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 21 - Cell 2
23Kenneth Vanbilsen (Bel) An Post - Sean KellyRow 22 - Cell 2
24Cédric Pineau (Fra) FDJ - Big MatRow 23 - Cell 2
25Jelle Wallays (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 24 - Cell 2
26Kurt Hovelynck (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 25 - Cell 2
27Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 26 - Cell 2
28Maxime Le Montagner (Fra) Veranda Rideau URow 27 - Cell 2
29Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 28 - Cell 2
30Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 29 - Cell 2
31Gaël Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 30 - Cell 2
32Javier Megias Leal (Spa) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 31 - Cell 2
33Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 32 - Cell 2
34Egidijus Juodvalkis (Lit) LandbouwkredietRow 33 - Cell 2
35Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 34 - Cell 2
36Sébastien Chavanel (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 35 - Cell 2
37Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 36 - Cell 2
38Niko Eeckhout (Bel) An Post - Sean KellyRow 37 - Cell 2
39Davy Commeyne (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 38 - Cell 2
40Leif Hoste (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 39 - Cell 2
41Bert De Waele (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 40 - Cell 2
42Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 41 - Cell 2
43Steven Tronet (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 42 - Cell 2
44Benoit Drujon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 43 - Cell 2
45Dimitri Le Bouch (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 44 - Cell 2
46Fabien Schmidt (Fra) Roubaix Lille MétropoleRow 45 - Cell 2
47Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis Le Crédit en LigneRow 46 - Cell 2
48Julien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 47 - Cell 2
49Romain Matheou (Fra) Veranda Rideau URow 48 - Cell 2
50Stéphane Poulhies (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 49 - Cell 2
51Arnaud Molmy (Fra) Veranda Rideau URow 50 - Cell 2
52Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Roubaix Lille MétropoleRow 51 - Cell 2
53Anthony Geslin (Fra) FDJ - Big MatRow 52 - Cell 2
54Gijs Van Hoecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 53 - Cell 2
55Koen Barbe (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 54 - Cell 2
56Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 55 - Cell 2
57Steve Houanard (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 56 - Cell 2
58Justin Jules (Fra) Veranda Rideau URow 57 - Cell 2
59Marco Mercato (Ita) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 58 - Cell 2
60Tom Stamsnijder (Ned) Project 1t4iRow 59 - Cell 2
61Rémi Di Gregorio (Fra) Cofidis Le Crédit en LigneRow 60 - Cell 2
62Georg Preidler (Aut) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 61 - Cell 2
63Dirk Bellemakers (Ned) LandbouwkredietRow 62 - Cell 2
64Laurens De Vreese (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 63 - Cell 2
65Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) An Post - Sean KellyRow 64 - Cell 2
66Dominique Cornu (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 65 - Cell 2
67Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ - Big MatRow 66 - Cell 2
68Wim De Vocht (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 67 - Cell 2
69Ronan Van Zandbeek (Ned) Project 1t4iRow 68 - Cell 2
70Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis Le Crédit en LigneRow 69 - Cell 2
71Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 70 - Cell 2
72Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 71 - Cell 2
73David Lelay (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 72 - Cell 2
74Sébastien Minard (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 73 - Cell 2
75Arnaud Gerard (Fra) FDJ - Big MatRow 74 - Cell 2
76Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 75 - Cell 2
77Yohan Cauquil (Fra) Vélo Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 76 - Cell 2
78Denis Flahaut (Fra) Roubaix Lille MétropoleRow 77 - Cell 2
79Simon Geschke (Ger) Project 1t4iRow 78 - Cell 2
80Nicolas Rousseau (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 79 - Cell 2
81Bert De Backer (Bel) Project 1t4iRow 80 - Cell 2
82Mathieu Delaroziere (Fra) Vélo Club La Pomme MarseilleRow 81 - Cell 2
83Daniele Colli (Ita) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 82 - Cell 2
84Preben Van Hecke (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 83 - Cell 2
85Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 84 - Cell 2
86Yann Huguet (Fra) Project 1t4iRow 85 - Cell 2
87Bertjan Lindeman (Ned) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 86 - Cell 2
88Ronan Mc Laughlin (Irl) An Post - Sean KellyRow 87 - Cell 2
89Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ - Big MatRow 88 - Cell 2
90Jérôme Coppel (Fra) Saur - SojasunRow 89 - Cell 2
91Guillaume Faucon (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93Row 90 - Cell 2
92Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 91 - Cell 2
93Rafaa Chtioui (Tun) Team EuropcarRow 92 - Cell 2
94Andy Cappelle (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 93 - Cell 2
95Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 94 - Cell 2
96Arnoud Van Groen (Ned) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda`sRow 95 - Cell 2
97Rémi Cusin (Fra) Team Type 1 - SanofiRow 96 - Cell 2
98Julien Guay (Fra) Roubaix Lille MétropoleRow 97 - Cell 2
99Mathieu Drouilly (Fra) Roubaix Lille MétropoleRow 98 - Cell 2
100Tony Hurel (Fra) Team EuropcarRow 99 - Cell 2
101Barry Markus (Ned) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 100 - Cell 2
102Johan Lebon (Fra) Bretagne - SchullerRow 101 - Cell 2
103Frédéric Amorison (Bel) LandbouwkredietRow 102 - Cell 2
104Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R la MondialeRow 103 - Cell 2
105Loïc Desriac (Fra) Roubaix Lille MétropoleRow 104 - Cell 2
106Romain Feillu (Fra) Vacansoleil - DCM Pro Cycling TeamRow 105 - Cell 2
107Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team EuropcarRow 106 - Cell 2
108Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - MercatorRow 107 - Cell 2
109Tristan Valentin (Fra) Cofidis Le Crédit en LigneRow 108 - Cell 2
110Benoit Vaugrenard (Fra) FDJ - Big MatRow 109 - Cell 2
111Gaylord Cumont (Fra) Veranda Rideau URow 110 - Cell 2
112Mickaël Olejnik (