What a win for Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) on the second stage of Etoile de Besseges 2018. Or better, what a loss for Bryan Coquard. Vital Concept’s sprinter, fastly led-out by his team in the head of the bunch, celebrated on the finish line despite his wheel was not the first to accomplish the race. Laporte, whose success was decreed thanks to the fotofinish, anticipates Coquard, Timothy Dupont (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), Amaury Capiot (Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise) and Emiel Vermeulen (Roubaix – Lille Métropole). The stage winner is also the new leader of the general classification.
With flat ten-kilometre-long circuit to repeat five times around Générac after 101 kms from Nimes, today’s stage explicitly in the sights of the sprinters. The first breakaway of the day, a try backed up by four men, is reeled in almost immediately. Romain Combaud (Delko – Marseille), who begun the first breakaway, is followed by Jimmy Turgis (Cofidis), Pierre Idjouadiene (Roubaix-Lille Metropole), Davide Gabburo (Amore & Vita-Prodir), Dries van Gestel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Kevin Le Cunff (St-Michel-Auber 93). The six-men-attempt goes away on the second climb of the day, half way from the start to Générac, eking out a maximum gap of 4’40’’, which fades to 2’30” at the entrance of the circuits.
FDJ, the most active team in front of the group, is the principle maker of the bunch’s comeback. When ten kilometres divide the leaders from the finish lane, the formers are only ten seconds ahead the pack. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Sean de Bie (Veranda’s Willems Crelen) try to jump across the gap but Vital Concept does not let the try gain any advantage. The French squad leads brillantly Coquard to the sprint but Laporte, whose trajectory is more favorable then the one of the former Direct Energie rider, takes the spoils.
1 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 3:22:05
2 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club
3 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
4 Amaury Capiot (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise
5 Emiel Vermeulen (Bel) Roubaix Lille Metropole
6 Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ
7 Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Vital Concept Club
8 Romain Feillu (Fra) St Michel-Auber 93
9 Kevyn Ista (Bel) WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic
10 Marco Maronese (Ita) Bardiani CSF
1 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 7:08:05
2 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Vital Concept Club “
3 Marc Sarreau (Fra) FDJ “
4 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Direct Energie 0:00:04
5 Timothy Dupont (Bel) Wanty-Groupe Gobert 0:00:06
6 Milan Menten (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:00:07
7 Pierre Idjouadiene (Fra) Roubaix Lille Metropole “
8 Dries Van Gestel (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise 0:00:08
9 Michiel Dieleman (Bel) Cibel-Cebon “
10 Romain Combaud (Fra) Delko Marseille Provence KTM 0:00:09