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Ladagnous sprints to La Poly Normande victory

The La Poly Normande podium (l-r): Stefan Van Dijck (2nd, Verandas Willems), Matthieu Ladagnous (1st, Française Des Jeux) and Wesley Sulzberger (3rd, Française Des Jeux)

The La Poly Normande podium (l-r): Stefan Van Dijck (2nd, Verandas Willems), Matthieu Ladagnous (1st, Française Des Jeux) and Wesley Sulzberger (3rd, Française Des Jeux) (Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)

Matthieu Ladagnous quickly overcame the disappointment of his non-selection for the Tour de France by continuing Française des Jeux's recent dominance of the La Poly Normande. After finishing fourth overall in the Tour de Wallonie, Ladagnous won the French Cup race organised by the commentator of the Tour de France, Daniel Mangeas, in his Normand village of Saint-Martin-de-Landelles on Sunday.

Following the successes of his teammates Arnaud Gérard (in 2008) and Benoît Vaugrenard (2007), Ladagnous finished first in an unusual bunch sprint and shared the podium with his Australian companion Wesley Sulzberger who placed third.

"When I came here I hoped for a breakaway," Ladagnous said. "I thought it was over when the front group had a seven-minute lead. I didn't feel good with 30 kilometres to go. At the end, it wasn't a typical bunch sprint. Everybody was tired. We all sprinted without a real strategy."

Sulzberger was on his wheel but also didn't have the speed for the finale, something that only Stefan van Dijk (Verandas Willems) had. "I was the strongest, but I started sprinting too late," said van Dijk.

Sulzberger was delighted to accompany Ladagnous to the podium. "It was flat out at the end but I'm happy to see the form coming back for Paris-Corrèze, which was my first race with Française des Jeux one year ago. I have big ambitions there," the Tasmanian said.

Ladagnous, who emerged as one of the most promising riders after winning the Four Days of Dunkirk two years ago, was surprisingly left out of the Tour de France team by the Française des Jeux management. "I was disappointed to learn it from Marc Madiot on the eve of the French championship," the rider from Pau said. "I watched it and there were many opportunities for a rider like me, but it's not the end of the world. There will be other Tours for me I hope and there are other interesting races as well. Today is a good example that there is a life as a bike rider after the Tour de France."

A nine-man breakaway took shape after only five kilometres of racing in the outskirts of Avranches where Bradley McGee won stage 7 of the 2002 Tour de France. It included Jocelyn Bar (Française des Jeux), Pierre Rolland (Bbox-Bouygues Telecom), René Mandri (AG2R La Mondiale), Benjamin Giraud (Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne), Jean-Luc Delpech (Bretagne-Schuller), Anthony Delaplace (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun), Diego Tamayo (Carmiooro - A-Style), James Vanlandschoot (Verandas Willems) and Loïc Desriac (French National Team).

The riders in the break were not taken very seriously because many of them were trainees (Bar, Giraud and Delaplace), amateur (Desriac) and members of Continental teams, so they were able to extend their lead to 7:40 over the peloton. Eventually Cofidis took up the chase, not trusting Giraud's ability to win, otherwise the peloton would likely have never brought back the escapees.

Utilizing his form from the Tour de France, Rolland tried to go solo but his escape attempt was unsuccessful. Tamayo, Delpech and Delaplace, who was doing his first pro race in the same village of Saint-Martin-de-Landelles where he won the U17 race only four years ago, attacked their breakaway companions but this move, too, did not succeed. The peloton absorbed all of the riders from the break with 10 kilometres remaining to the finish and the teams of the sprinters prepared for a field sprint to decide the race.

Anthony Geslin (Française des Jeux) and the leader of the French Cup Jimmy Casper (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun) were among the riders who tried to avoid a bunch sprint with attacks in the closing kilometres, but each effort was neutralised by the peloton.

Matthieu Ladagnous (Française des Jeux) led-out the sprint from 300 metres with teammate Wesley Sulzberger on his wheel. Stefan van Dijk (Verandas Willems) almost managed to overtake both Française des Jeux riders, but the photo-finish confirmed Ladagnous as the winner.

Results
1Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Française Des Jeux3:45:23
2Stefan Van Dijck (Ned) Verandas Willems
3Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Française Des Jeux
4Bert De Waele (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
5Julien El Fares (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
6Freddy Bichot (Fra) Agritubel
7Daniele Colli (Ita) Carmiooro - A-Style
8Steven Tronet (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
9Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10Renaud Dion (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
11Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
12Julien Simon (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun
13Laurent Beuret (Swi) Carmiooro - A-Style
14Benoît Sinner (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun
15Francisco José Ventoso Alberdi (Spa) Carmiooro - A-Style
16Pierre Cazaux (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
17Steven Caethoven (Bel) Agritubel
18Alexandre Pichot (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
19Cédric Pineau (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
20Jan Kuyckx (Bel) Verandas Willems
21Anthony Ravard (Fra) Agritubel
22Guillaume Bonnafond (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
23Sébastien Harbonnier (Fra) Continental Team Differdange
24Lilian Jegou (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
25Niels Brouzes (Fra) Auber 93
26Florian Vachon (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
27Jonathan Thire (Fra) Auber 93
28John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
29Vincent Jerome (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
30Anthony Geslin (Fra) Française Des Jeux
31Mikael Cherel (Fra) Française Des Jeux
32Jocelyn Bar (Fra) Française Des Jeux
33Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
34Sylvain Georges (Fra) French National Team
35Morgan Chedhomme (Fra) Auber 93
36Remi Cusin (Fra) Agritubel
37Aurelien Duval (Fra) Francaise des Jeux
38Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
39Rene Mandri (Est) AG2R La Mondiale
40Jean Eudes Demaret (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
41Yann Pivois (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
42Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
43Romain Lemarchand (Fra) Auber 93
44Maxim Gourov (Kaz) Carmiooro - A-Style
45Arnaud Courteille (Fra) Française Des Jeux
46Blaise Sonnery (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
47Romain Zingle (Bel) Verandas Willems0:00:10
48Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Française Des Jeux
49Diego Alejandro Tamayo (Col) Carmiooro - A-Style
50Fabien Taillefer (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
51Thomas Lebas (Fra) French National Team
52Laurent Lefevre (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
53Florian Guillou (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
54James Vanlandschoot (Bel) Verandas Willems
55Loïc Desriac (Fra) French National Team
56Maryan Hary (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
57Jimmy Casper (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun
58Guillaume Malle (Fra) French National Team
59Koen Barbe (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
60Kevin Peeters (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
61Eric Berthou (Fra) Carmiooro - A-Style
62Franck Bouyer (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
63Cyril Gautier (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
64Maxime Mederel (Fra) Auber 93
65Tony Gallopin (Fra) Auber 930:00:16
66Jeremy Galland (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun
67Nicolas Jalabert (Fra) Agritubel
68Dimitri Champion (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
69Anthony De La Place (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun0:00:19
70Romain Matheou (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun
71Fabrice Jeandesboz (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun
72Jean-Marc Marino (Fra) Besson Chaussures - Sojasun0:00:21
73Yann Huguet (Fra) Agritubel
74Johan Mombaerts (Fra) Auber 930:00:31
75Mickael Larpe (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole0:00:37
76Antoine Dalibard (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller0:00:38
77Sébastien Minard (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne0:00:44
78Grégory Habeaux (Bel) Verandas Willems0:01:04
79Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller0:01:46
80Laurent Denonfoux (Fra) French National Team0:03:40
81Nadir Haddou (Fra) Auber 930:03:42
82Arnaud Molmy (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
83Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne
84Sébastien Hinault (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:03:44
85Mathieu Criquielion (Bel) Verandas Willems
86Cédric Collaers (Bel) Verandas Willems
87Masaru Fukuhara (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
88Sébastien Fournet Fayard (Fra) Carmiooro - A-Style0:06:36
DNFRony Martias (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
DNFPierre Rolland (Fra) BBox Bouygues Telecom
DNFKenji Itami (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
DNFMasamichi Yamamoto (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
DNFMitsunari Mitaki (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
DNFSho Aikawa (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
DNFShinpei Fukuda (Jpn) Team Bridgestone Anchor
DNFGael Malacarne (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller
DNFNicolas Baldo (Fra) Continental Team Differdange
DNFJempy Drucker (Lux) Continental Team Differdange
DNFDominik Eberle (Ger) Continental Team Differdange
DNFMorten Knudsen (Den) Continental Team Differdange
DNFCyrille Heymans (Lux) Continental Team Differdange
DNFJulien Fouchard (Fra) French National Team
DNFMathieu Halleguen (Fra) French National Team
DNFGaylord Cumont (Fra) French National Team
DNFMartial Ricci Poggi (Fra) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
DNFMathieu Drouilly (Fra) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
DNFDavid Boucher (Fra) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
DNFDenis Flahaut (Fra) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
DNFJonathan Bertrand (Bel) Landbouwkrediet - Colnago
DNFBastien Delrot (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNFOlivier Pardini (Bel) Verandas Willems

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