Marc Saurreau wins stage 3 of the Etoile de Besseges 2018. The Frenchman takes the second stage over three days of racing and regain the overall lead. The FDJ’s rider takes out the sprint over Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) and Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R La Mondiale), with Sean de Bie (Veranda’s Willems – Crelan) in fourth and Timothy Dupont (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) in fifth.
Jonathan Hivert (Direct Energie), Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R La Mondiale), Przemyslaw Kasperkiewicz (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM), Gianni Marchand (Cibel-Cebon) and Remy di Gregorio (Delko Marseille-Provence KTM) foster the early attack of the day just as soon the race starts. Due to three laps with first category Col de Trelis in the middle of the stage, climbers are expected to burn their matches. The advantage of the rouleurs has its peak timed at 2’30” after the second ascent of the day but along the third climb the peloton reels in the breakaway with 57 kms to go.
Tony Gallopin, Benoit Cosnefroy (Ag2r La Mondiale), Timothy Dupont (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), Julien El Fares (Delko-Provence Marseille), Léo Vincent (FDJ) ensue a counter-attack, after which Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and then Anthony Turgis (Cofidis), Anthony Delaplace (Fortuneo-Samsic) and Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) jump across the gap. The advantage never surpassed 30 seconds and the peloton, which is regrouping behind, calls off the nine-men try. Another counter-attack springs, this time with Romain Combaud (Delko-Provence Marseille) as the only leading.
With 34 kilometres to go, the peloton allows Combaud and company – Frederick Backaert (Wanty – Groupe Gobert) and Dries van Gestel (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise) enjoyed the Frenchman by the last descent of the day – to eke out an advantage which never overpasses 40 seconds. In the back the situation become stable and only at 14 kms to the finish FDJ starts to enbitter the pace. When Vital Concept and Cofidis assisted FDJ in its task, and the gap starts to fall rapidly. With 2 kms to go the gap increases to 16 seconds but in the last kilometer the bunch accelerates and succeeds in catching the breakaway with only 500 meters to go.
1 Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ 3:56:29
2 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
3 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
4 Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems Crelan
5 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
6 Brenton Jones (Aus) Delko Marseille Provence KTM
7 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
8 Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9 Damien Touze (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
10 Laurent Pichon (Fra) Fortuneo-Oscaro
1 Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ 11:04:24
2 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie + 0:00:08
3 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits + 0:00:10
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club “
5 Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale + 0:00:14
6 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale + 0:00:16
7 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert “
8 Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM “
9 Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise + 0:00:17
10 Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise “