Marc Saurreau (FDJ) gets the first stage of the Etoile de Besseges 2018. The 24-years-old, whose last victory dated back to 2014, beats in a bunch finish Direct Energie’s Thomas Boudat and Vital Concept’s Bryan Coquard. Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) took fourth and Sean De Bie (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) completes the top-5 of the day. The Frenchman also takes the first leader’s jersey.
The stage, 162 kms long from Bellegarde leading to Beaucaire, had been marked by the three men breakaway featuring Artiz Bagües (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias), Michel Dieleman (Cibel-Cebon) and Milan Menten (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise). The day’s major try reaches a maximum advantage of 3’30” at 60 kms on the way to the finish, circumstance in which the sprinter’s squads harden the pace in front of the group. The most active team is Vital Concept, whose efforts drop the gap under two minutes.
In the first of the three laps around Beaucaire Menten loses touch from the breakaway and Coquard is forced to stop because of a mechanical issue and then to chase the group. Firstly Bagues and then Dieleman, who tried a solo attempt, give up the lead thanks to the efforts of Cofidis, Delko – Marseille and Ag2r La Mondiale efforts in front of the bunch. In the finale none of the sprinters’ teams managed to organize a concrete train and through the chaos Marc Sarreau gets the upper hand and wins the stage.
1 Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ 3:46:10
2 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie
3 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club
4 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
5 Sean De Bie (Bel) Veranda’s Willems Crelan
6 Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7 Enrico Barbin (Ita) Bardiani CSF
8 Jordi Warlop (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
9 Kenny Dehaes (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
10 Romain Feillu (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93