Casper Pedersen wins Paris-Tours

Casper Pedersen (Team Sunweb) took victory at Paris-Tours, beating Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale) in a two-up sprint on the Avenue de Grammont after the two emerged as the strongest men on the gravel roads through the vineyards in the race finale.

Pedersen's teammate Joris Nieuwenhuis clinched a 1-3 for the team, outsprinting the chase group 30 seconds later, with Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) taking fourth.

The Dane's victory came after race favourite and former winner Søren Kragh Andersen crashed out of contention just as the hills and gravel sections started with 50km to go. Pedersen managed to stick with Cosnefroy as the Frenchman led a series of reckonings at the front of the race, riding the final 30km together despite a relatively small gap back to the chase group.

Each rider enjoyed the presence of a teammate to disrupt the chase, though. A 25-second gap at the end of the hills and gravel sections would hold to Tours as Nieuwenhuis and Romain Bardet sat on.

Heading into the final kilometre and that famous finish Cosnefroy enjoyed a lead-out from Pedersen but couldn't convert it into a victory. As was the case at La Flèche Wallonne and Brabantse Pijl, it would be another case of so near yet so far for the AG2R La Mondiale man as Pedersen crossed the line with his arms aloft.

"It's a really big result for me. I'm super happy," Pedersen said after the race. "I was dreaming about doing a good result here because I felt like I came out with a really good shape from the Tour.

"We knew that when a strong group goes early on the gravel sections it can be really dangerous. I followed Bardet when he opened up the race and then we got away. [Team leader] Søren Kragh Andersen was in a crash just before that first attack so he wasn't in the front right there.

"I've sprinted against [Cosnefroy] a few times before at under-23 level. Normally he likes the hills more than me and I like the flat more, so normally I have more confidence in the sprint. I was a bit scared of him going away on one of the climbs and I was playing a bit of poker, looking at him like I wasn't suffering."

How it unfolded

The race followed the familiar route since the big change to the final in 2018 – a long, largely flat day from Chartres south to Tours punctuated by the short, sharp climbs and gravel roads of the vineyards east of Tours in the final 50km of the race. Formerly a 'sprinter's classic', these hills have proved decisive in determining the race winner in both 2018 and 2019.

The break of the day established themselves in the early kilometres of the race, with six men making the move. Evaldas Šiškevičius (Nippo Delko One Provence) was joined out front by Elmar Reinders (Riwal Securitas), Sergio Martín (Caja Rural-Seguros RGA), Petr Rikunov (Gazprom-RusVelo), Emiel Vermeulen (Natura4Ever-Roubaix Lille Métropole) and Mikel Aristi (Euskaltel-Euskadi).

The sextet didn't manage to build a giant gap despite the race's 213km length as AG2R La Mondiale and Team Sunweb were among the teams working at the front of the peloton to limit the gap for their contenders.

3:30 was the most they could manage, kept on a tight leash which only got tighter as the peloton split to three pieces in the crosswinds midway through the day. The situation settled down quickly afterwards, though, with the gap going back up to three minutes before being gradually eroded as the riders neared the decisive hills and dirt roads through the vineyards of the final 50km.

Disaster struck for Sunweb with 50km to go as 2018 winner Søren Kragh Andersen was caught up in a crash in the peloton. He took some time to get going again but ahead, the pace was already high at such a vital point of the race.

Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) set the pace on the Côte de Goquene, the first of seven hills and nine gravel paths in the race final. He was setting up an attack for his teammate, the in-form Cosnefroy who duly led the way at the front as the peloton split to pieces.

The Frenchman formed part of an elite front group after the dust had settled on the early gravel sections, joined in the lead by Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Alexander Krieger (Alpecin-Fenix), Quentin Pacher (B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) and Casper Pedersen (Team Sunweb).

Up front, the break was fracturing, too, with Vermeulen and Reinders the last men standing before being caught with 35km to run. Cosnefroy would push on again shortly afterwards, shedding all but Pedersen from the head of the race. The duo had 40 seconds on the peloton at the 30km mark, with four – wet – gravel sections and four hills to go.

Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) led the charge behind, leading a group including Bardet, Krieger, Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) and Joris Nieuwenhuis (Team Sunweb) in pursuit of the two leaders. Despite an advantage in numbers, they chasers only managed to shave 15 seconds off the lead, with Cosnefroy and Pedersen 25 seconds to the good after the final climb having stuck together in co-operation.

Flat roads followed, leading to Tours and the famous Avenue de Grammont. The five men behind struggled to make any headway, though – in part due to Bardet and Nieuwenhuis not having to work – and the two leaders reached Tours with enough time to play cat and mouse.

Pedersen led the way into the final kilometre as he and Cosnefroy toyed with each other. The Dane led out the sprint and launched first. Despite his favourable positioning, Cosnefroy just didn't have it in the sprint and had to settle for another podium at a one-day race.

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Full Results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Casper Phillip Pedersen (Den) Team Sunweb 4:51:44
2Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
3Joris Nieuwenhuis (Ned) Team Sunweb 0:00:30
4Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
5Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
6Petr Vakoč (Cze) Alpecin - Fenix
7Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
8August Jensen (Nor) Riwal Readynez 0:02:11
9Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
10Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
11Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Nippo Delko Provence
12Alexander Krieger (Ger) Alpecin-Fenix
13Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie
14Eliot Lietaer (Bel) Bingoal WB
15Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:02:16
16Antonio Angulo Sampedro (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
17Romain Cardis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
18Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic 0:02:18
19Pier Andre Cote (Can) Rally Cycling
20Biniam Girmay Hailu (Eri) Nippo Delko Provence
21Jérémy Leveau (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix - Lille Metropole
22Clement Venturini (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
23Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
24Martijn Budding (Ned) Riwal Readynez
25Wesley Kreder (Ned) Circus-Wanty Gobert
26Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
27Anders Skaarseth (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
28Stepan Kuriyanov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
29Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal WB
30Luc Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal Wb
31Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
32Romain Combaud (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
33Dries De Bondt (Bel) Alpecin-Fenix 0:03:50
34Dusan Rajovic (Srb) Nippo Delko Provence
35Markus Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
36Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
37Thimo Willems (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
38Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal WB
39Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
40Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
41Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Natura4Ever - Roubaix - Lille Metropole
42Tobias Mørch Kongstad (Den) Riwal Readynez
43Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
44Johan Le Bon (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
45Lucas Eriksson (Swe) Riwal Readynez
46Mikel Aristi Gardoki (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
47Diego Lopez Fuentes (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
48Scott Thwaites (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
49Pim Ligthart (Ned) Total Direct Energie
50Tom Dernies (Bel) Natura4Ever - Roubaix - Lille Metropole 0:03:55
51Elmar Reinders (Ned) Riwal Readynez 0:04:00
52Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Nippo Delko Provence 0:04:02
53Aime De Gendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:04:03
54Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:06:09
55Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
56Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling 0:06:28
57Petr Rikunov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
58Marco Canola (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo
59Sam Brand (GBr) Team Novo Nordisk 0:07:28
60Kristian Sbaragli (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
61David Gonzalez Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
62Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
63Emiel Planckaert (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
64Manuel Peñalver Aniorte (Spa) Burgos-BH
65Dzmitry Zhyhunou (Blr) Euskaltel - Euskadi
66Alexander Molenaar (Ned)
67Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
68Isaac Canton Serrano (Spa) Burgos-BH
69Alexandar Richardson (GBr) Alpecin-Fenix
70Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
71Niklas Märkl (Ger) Development Team Sunweb
72Daniel Hoelgaard (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
73Kevin Van Melsen (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
74Mathias De Witte (Bel) Natura4Ever - Roubaix - Lille Metropole
75Maximilien Picoux (Bel) Natura4Ever - Roubaix - Lille Metropole
76Donavan Vincent Grondin (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
77Florian Maitre (Fra) Total Direct Energie
78Andrea Peron (Ita) Team Novo Nordisk
79Orluis Alberto Aular Sanabria (Ven) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
80Péter Kusztor (Hun) Team Novo Nordisk
81Brian Kamstra (Ned) Team Novo Nordisk
82Arvid De Kleijn (Ned) Riwal Readynez
83Kenny De Ketele (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
84Bram Welten (Ned) Team Arkea-Samsic
85Kim Magnusson (Swe) Riwal Readynez
86Connor Swift (GBr) Team Arkea-Samsic
87Paul Ourselin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
88Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
89Torjus Sleen (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
90Torstein Træen (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team
91Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
92Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels - Vital Concept
93Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) Cofidis
94Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
95Peio Goikoetxea Goiogana (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
96Jordan Levasseur (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix - Lille Metropole
97Joel Suter (Swi) Bingoal WB
98Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
99Flavien Maurelet (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93 0:07:34
100Tony Hurel (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
101Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb 0:09:25
102Stephen Bassett (USA) Rally Cycling 0:10:10
103Syver Wærsted (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team 0:10:20
104Sergio Roman Martin Galan (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
105Julien Trarieux (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence 0:12:04
106Nickolas Zukowsky (Can) Rally Cycling
107Kevin Deltombe (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:12:59
108Antoine Raugel (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:13:13
109Samuel Leroux (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix - Lille Metropole 0:15:06
110Victor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
111Alfdan De Decker (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
112Joonas Henttala (Fin) Team Novo Nordisk
113Lars Saugstad (Nor) Uno-X Norwegian Development Team 0:15:14
114Adrien Guillonnet (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93 0:16:43
115Leon Heinschke (Ger) Development Team Sunweb 0:18:35
116Matthew Gibson (GBr) Burgos-BH 0:20:32
117Carlos Canal Blanco (Spa) Burgos-BH
118Vladislav Kulikov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
119Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
120Jaume Sureda Morey (Spa) Burgos-BH
121Angel Fuentes Paniego (Spa) Burgos-BH
122Oier Lazkano Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
123Simon Verger (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
124Louis Louvet (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
OTLMehdi Benhamouda (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
DNFHector Saez Benito (Spa) Caja Rural - Seguros Rga
DNFMikel Alonso Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFMatteo Dal-Cin (Can) Rally Cycling
DNFLéo Vincent (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFBaptiste Constantin (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
DNFJulen Irizar Laskurain (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
DNFBaptiste Bleier (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
DNFAnthony Maldonado (Fra) St Michel - Auber 93
DNFEvgeny Shalunov (Rus) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFImerio Cima (Ita) Gazprom-Rusvelo
DNFKevyn Ista (Bel) Bingoal WB
DNFJulian Mertens (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
DNFJeremy Cabot (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFEduard-Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo Delko Provence
DNFTom Devriendt (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFEddy Fine (Fra) Cofidis
DNFNatnael Berhane (Eri) Cofidis
DNFSacha Modolo (Ita) Alpecin-Fenix
DNFWilliam Bonnet (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFMartin Salmon (Ger) Team Sunweb
DNFAdrien Garel (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNSLoïc Vliegen (Bel) Circus-Wanty Gobert

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