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Gaudin wins Tro-Bro Leon

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Damien Gaudin wins Tro-Bro Léon ahead of Frederik Backaert.

Damien Gaudin wins Tro-Bro Léon ahead of Frederik Backaert. (Image credit: Brecht Decaluwé)
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Damien Gaudin atop the Tro-Bro Léon podium

Damien Gaudin atop the Tro-Bro Léon podium (Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)
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Damien Gaudin atop the Tro-Bro Léon podium

Damien Gaudin atop the Tro-Bro Léon podium (Image credit: Jean-François Quénet)

Damien Gaudin (Armée de Terre) sealed the victory in Monday's Tro-Bro Léon, out-sprinting Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) out of the two man breakaway. Benjamin Giraud (Delko Marseille) won the sprint for third.

The leading duo had just seconds on the peloton as they rode under the 1km-to-go to go banner, but they managed to hold off the sprint behind by seven seconds. It was Gaudin's second win of a renaissance season that also included a stage victory in the Tour de Normandie. Before stepping down from the WorldTour this season, Gaudin's last win was the Cholet - Pays De Loire in 2013.

The former AG2R-La Mondiale rider wanted to prove himself on the gravel roads of Brittany one week after Paris-Roubaix as he missed his favorite classic due to his relegation in a third division team. He did so emphatically at Tro-Bro Léon, claiming Armée de Terre's second win in the French Cup series in three days after Julien Loubet came first at the Tour du Finistère on Saturday.

"Cycling is a difficult sport," Gaudin commented after his win. "When you work in the shadow with no reward, it's a pain in the arse. Last week I was so bitter that I didn't even watch TV. I went to train hard instead because I wanted to show that Gaudin can still be a bike rider. I looked at the results of Paris-Roubaix in the evening though."

When he did get around to checking the final standings, Gaudin would see the names of Greg Van Avermaet and Zdenek Stybar in the first two positions; when Gaudin finished fifth in Roubaix in 2013, Van Avermaet was fourth and Stybar sixth. Then riding for Europcar, Gaudin joined AG2R-La Mondiale for the following three seasons but his contract wasn't renewed at the end of last year, hence his move to the Armée de Terre, the Continental team of the French army.

"During the off season, I told them that the Tro-Bro Léon would be our Paris-Roubaix this year, as we don't qualify for Paris-Roubaix as a continental team," Gaudin said. "End of March and April is always my best period. After the GP Denain on Thursday, I flew to Brest to prepare for the Tro-Bro Léon the same way I used to prepare for Paris-Roubaix. I reconned the whole 180km of the course."

"In 2013, I won the prologue of Paris-Nice and Cholet-Pays de Loire, which is my home race," he said. "But today it's my most beautiful victory. The Tro-Bro Léon is mythical. It's a second Paris-Roubaix." Aged 30, the Frenchman hasn't given up his dreams in the Hell of the North. "I've come fifth in Roubaix, I can make the podium, I can even win it one day," he insisted.

A few minutes after winning Tro-Bro Léon, he received a congratulatory message from French defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who has been a driving force behind the army team. The manner in which Gaudin claimed Monday's win was a convincing one, as he rode away with 50 kilometres to go.

"When I found myself at the front with Frederik Backaert, I knew he was someone who rides hard like me," he said. "He was the right companion to have. Only in the last lap he wasn't pulling anymore."

With FDJ doing most of the work and mainly Matthieu Ladagnous chasing to bridge the gap for a sprint finish to favor Arnaud Démare, the leading duo was just 15 seconds ahead with three kilometres to go. "I thought we'd come across because FDJ and AG2R-La Mondiale both rode for that," third-placed Benjamin Giraud of told Cyclingnews. "They were very strong at the front. I'm very happy to be third."

Backaert, on the other hand, wasn't content wth his podium spot. "I'm very disappointed because the Tro-Bro Léon is the nicest race of the year for me," he said. "I don't know how to sprint. Maybe I sprinted from too far out."

Laurent Pichon of Fortuneo-Vital Concept finished fourth to retain the lead in the French Cup standings.

Full Results

#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Damien Gaudin (Fra) Armee de Terre4:50:22
2Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:00:02
3Benjamin Giraud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:00:07
4Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
5Kevin Le Cunff (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93
6Mathias De Witte (Bel) Cibel - Cebon
7Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ
8Damien Touze (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93
9Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Direct Energie
10Hugo Hofstetter (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
11Fabien Canal (Fra) Armee de Terre
12Julien Loubet (Fra) Armee de Terre
13Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
14Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
15Erwann Corbel (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
16Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
17Rudy Barbier (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
18Mikel Iturria Segurola (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
19Perrig Quemeneur (Fra) Direct Energie0:00:10
20Pierre Luc Perichon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
21Stijn Devolder (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
22Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:00:27
23Mickael Delage (Fra) FDJ0:00:35
24Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ0:01:08
25Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:12
26Mihkel Räim (Est) Israel Cycling Academy
27Dimitri Claeys (Bel) Cofidis, Solutions Credits0:01:14
28Félix Pouilly (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole0:01:42
29Thibault Ferasse (Fra) Armee de Terre
30Jimmy Turgis (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
31Alo Jakin (Est) HP BTP - Auber 93
32Angel Madrazo (Spa) Delko Marseille Provence KTM0:01:44
33Connor Swift (GBr) Madison Genesis
34Olivier Le Gac (Fra) FDJ0:01:49
35Hugo Houle (Can) AG2R La Mondiale0:01:51
36Gaetan Bille (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan0:04:08
37Carl Fredrik Hagen (Nor) Joker Icopal0:04:11
38Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Israel Cycling Academy
39Jeremy Cornu (Fra) Direct Energie0:04:16
40Torkil Veyhe (Den) Coloquick - Cult0:04:23
41Dennis Bakker (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam0:05:23
42Jimmy Janssens (Bel) Cibel - Cebon0:05:28
43Thierry Hupond (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
44Aitor Gonzalez (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
45Jonathan McEvoy (GBr) Madison Genesis
46Kevin De Jonghe (Bel) Cibel - Cebon
47Romain Cardis (Fra) Direct Energie
48Robby Cobbaert (Bel) Cibel - Cebon
49Beñat Txoperena Matxikote (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
50Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
51Jérémy Lecroq (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole
52Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Cibel - Cebon
53Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie0:05:33
54Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) AG2R La Mondiale0:08:37
55Jetse Bol (Ned) Manzana Postobon
56Ike Groen (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam0:09:17
57Kenny Dehaes (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert0:10:23
58Martin Mortensen (Den) Coloquick - Cult
59Timothy Dupont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
60Tyler Williams (USA) Israel Cycling Academy0:10:55
61Nico Denz (Ger) AG2R La Mondiale
62Christian Moberg Jörgensen (Den) Coloquick - Cult
63Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
64Gotzon Udondo Santamaria (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias0:13:54
DNFRune Almindso Andersen (Den) Coloquick - Cult
DNFMagnus Bak Klaris (Den) Coloquick - Cult
DNFDennis Herforth Jensen (Den) Coloquick - Cult
DNFMathias Krigbaum (Den) Coloquick - Cult
DNFRasmus Wallin (Den) Coloquick - Cult
DNFSamuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFSondre Holst Enger (Nor) AG2R La Mondiale
DNFMarc Fournier (Fra) FDJ
DNFDaniel Hoelgaard (Nor) FDJ
DNFLorenzo Manzin (Fra) FDJ
DNFMarc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
DNFRayane Bouhanni (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFDorian Godon (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFChristophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFMathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFClement Venturini (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
DNFRomain Lemarchand (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
DNFYannick Martinez (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
DNFGatis Smukulis (Lat) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
DNFYohann Gene (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFBryan Nauleau (Fra) Direct Energie
DNFBenoit Jarrier (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
DNFFrancis Mourey (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Fortuneo - Vital Concept
DNFDan Craven (Nam) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFBenjamin Perry (Can) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFKrists Neilands (Lat) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFHamish Schreurs (NZl) Israel Cycling Academy
DNFYecid Arturo Sierra (Col) Manzana Postobon
DNFJuan Jose Amador (Col) Manzana Postobon
DNFJuan Pablo Villegas (Col) Manzana Postobon
DNFJhojan Garcia (Col) Manzana Postobon
DNFSergio Andres Higuita (Col) Manzana Postobon
DNFJuan Sebastian Molano (Col) Manzana Postobon
DNFBernardo Suaza (Col) Manzana Postobon
DNFSander Cordeel (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFChristophe Prémont (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFStef Van Zummeren (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFMichael Goolaerts (Bel) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFAidis Kruopis (Ltu) Veranda's Willems Crelan
DNFSimone Antonini (Ita) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFRobin Stenuit (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFKevin Van Melsen (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFMark Mcnally (GBr) Wanty - Groupe Gobert
DNFJimmy Raibaud (Fra) Armee de Terre
DNFKevin Lebreton (Fra) Armee de Terre
DNFStéphane Poulhies (Fra) Armee de Terre
DNFYannis Yssaad (Fra) Armee de Terre
DNFNicolas Baldo (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93
DNFFlavien Dassonville (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93
DNFPierre Gouault (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93
DNFAnthony Maldonado (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93
DNFJeremy Bescond (Fra) HP BTP - Auber 93
DNFJeremy Cabot (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole
DNFJoeri Calleeuw (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole
DNFJérémy Leveau (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole
DNFLander Seynaeve (Bel) Roubaix - Lille Metropole
DNFWim Reynaerts (Bel) Cibel - Cebon
DNFBrecht Ruyters (Bel) Cibel - Cebon
DNFLuuc Bugter (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
DNFMitchell Mulhern (Aus) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
DNFPastoor Gerco (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
DNFJordi Talen (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
DNFJens Van Den Dool (Ned) Delta Cycling Rotterdam
DNFAritz Bagues Kalparsoro (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
DNFAdrian Gonzalez Velasco (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
DNFEneko Lizarralde Delgado (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
DNFPello Olaberria Arruabarrena (Spa) Euskadi Basque Country - Murias
DNFVegard Breen (Nor) Joker Icopal
DNFMarkus Hoelgaard (Nor) Joker Icopal
DNFBjorn Tore Hoem (Nor) Joker Icopal
DNFIver Johan Knotten (Nor) Joker Icopal
DNFKristoffer Skjerping (Nor) Joker Icopal
DNFAdrian Aas Stien (Nor) Joker Icopal
DNFAlexandre Blain (Fra) Madison Genesis
DNFMatthew Cronshaw (GBr) Madison Genesis
DNFRichard Handley (GBr) Madison Genesis
DNFTobyn Horton (GBr) Madison Genesis
DNFErick Rowsell (GBr) Madison Genesis
DNFTaylor Karl Gunman (NZl) Madison Genesis

Mountains classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Félix Pouilly (Fra) Roubaix - Lille Metropole5pts
2Torkil Veyhe (Den) Coloquick - Cult5
3Frederik Backaert (Bel) Wanty - Groupe Gobert3
4Quentin Pacher (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM3
5Julien Loubet (Fra) Armee de Terre1

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