Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Perichon survives to win into Quimperlé; Zoidl wraps up overall

Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne-Séché Environment) attacked in the final kilometers but was just able to hold off a sprinting Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-iHNed) to take his first win of the year. On a course filled with dirt roads and short, punchy climbs, the peloton did not have a parade finish to their Tour de Bretagne.

Of all people, it was Dylan van Baarle (Rabobank Development) and Julian Alaphilippe who really blew the field apart after the third sector of dirt roads, a common sight in Bretagne. Van Baarle was going very well, driving the pace and stealing the mountains jersey away from Olivier Le Gac and sewing it up for himself. While this duo was powering up ahead, race leader Riccardo Zoidl wasn't going to let this move get any more time and took the initiative multiple times to try and bring the gap of nearly two minutes down.

Zoidl and his Gourtmetfein-Simplon team continued to whittle the gap down before the Austrian attacked with Fabien Schmidt (Sojasun) and Pierre-Luc Perichon. Zoidl showed his red hot form as he drug the group up to the tired duo, nullifying a 50 second gap in only 12 minutes. The final climb into Quimperlé saw Perrichon attack and the Frenchman took a 200m advantage into the final uphill rise. Perrichon was clearly suffering as he headed up the finishing straight but was able to raise his arms in victory over a strong Julian Alaphilippe, who nearly caught him on the line. Simon Yates' twin brother Adam Yates (CC Etupes) won the chasing group sprint for 8th.

1. Pierre-Luc Perichon (Bretagne-Séché Environment)
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-iHNed)
3. Fabien Schmidt (Sojasun)
4. Dylan van Baarle (Rabobank Development) **KOM Winner
5. Riccardo Zoidl (Gourmetfein-Simplon)

1. Zoidl
2. Nick van der Lijke (Rabobank Development)
3. Jasha Sütterlin (Thüringer Energie)
4. van Baarle
5. Alaphilippe
6. Bryan Nauleau (Vendée U)
7. Perichon
8. Vegard Breen (Joker-Merida)
9. Luis Mas Bonet (Burgos-BH)
10. Juan Villegas (4-72 Colombia)

After struggling on the wicked final stage, Timothy Dupont (Ventilair-Steria) still held on to his points jersey thanks to his strong early race, just three points ahead of Alaphilippe. Today capped of a strong week for Riccardo Zoidl, who has won his last two stage races overall and truly is a big koi in a small water garden.

Other takeaways include...

  • Consistency was one of the big trends this week as many guys had outstanding races because they  had a consistent presence in the finale. Dupont was very strong in the sprints day after day while guys like Alaphilippe, Mas and Juan Villegas were consistent over nearly the whole race.
  • Dylan van Baarle is a beast.
  • Jasha Sütterlin looks to be in line for a strong season and might be able to finally live up to the tall expectations that were set for him by some after his incredible performances in the junior ranks. German cycling still is not what it once was and Sütterlin is a key figure in the U23 scene and could play a pivotal role in the next couple of years to see if German riders can still develop into more than sprinters and classics men.
  • If you were not watching him before...Bryan Nauleau of the prestigious Vendée U team needs to be watched. He is a late bloomer but after his stagiaire role with Europcar last year, it will be interesting to see if they sign him to a pro deal next year.
  • With teammate Daan Olivier signing with Argos-Shimano, it is time to start speculating where Dylan van Baarle and Nick van der Lijke will go for next year. Hmmmm...

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