4 Jours de Dunkerque: Jimmy Engoulvent confirms overall victory as Pelucchi takes closing stage
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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

4 Jours de Dunkerque: Jimmy Engoulvent confirms overall victory as Pelucchi takes closing stage

by Ben Atkins at 11:11 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Four Days of Dunkirk
Rainy day on the Côte d’Opale sees another bunch sprint on the fifth of Four Days

jimmy engoulventMatteo Pelucchi (Europcar) sprinted to victory in the fifth and final stage of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque in a close finish in the centre of Dunkerque. The 23-year-old Italian just managed to lunge his front wheel ahead of that of double stage winner John Degenkolb (Argos-Shimano) at the end of the rainy 176.1km stage, with Danilo Napolitano (Acqua & Sapone) a close third.

Finishing safely in the peloton however, was race leader Jimmy Engoulvent (Saur-Sojasun) (pictured) - who took the pink jersey after his solo win on stage three -and the Frenchman confirmed his overall victory in the five-day race.

The sprint was only possible after the four-man break of Sébastien Chavanel (Europcar), David Tanner (Saxo Bank), Nico Sijmens (Cofidis) and Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) had been brought back. Although none of the four was any danger to Engoulvent’s lead, the Saur-Sojasun team kept them under control and, at the halfway point they were no more than three minutes ahead.

As the race entered the final 7km Dunkurque circuit, which was to be completed seven times, the gap to the leaders was down to two minutes and was continuing to fall. As it got closer Andrey Grivko (Astana) and Francesco Reda (Acqua & Sapone) jumped across; the group was now up to six, but an attack from Chavanel saw Vanspeybrouck dropped, reducing it to five.

With 20km to go the quintet was only 30 seconds ahead, and was steadily reeled in until it was caught with just six kilometres to go. Degenkolb’s Argos-Shimano then too command, along with Cofidis and Omega Pharma-Quick Step, and the German sprinter - who won stages one and two - launched his sprint with 100 metres to go.

Just as it looked as though the 23-year-old German was about to take his third victory of the race, Pelucchi came around him and threw his bike to win by little more than the width of his tyre.

Had Degenkolb managed to win the sprint the ten-second time bonus would have lifted him to second place overall; with just six seconds for second place however, he moved to within 45 seconds of Engoulvent, but was still two behind stage four winner Zdenek Stybar (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who took one step up the podium from his third place of 2011.

Result stage 5
1. Matteo Pelucchi (Ita) Europcar
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano
3. Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Acqua & Sapone
4. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
6. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
8. Alessandro Bazzana (Ita) Team Type 1-Sanofi
9. Jempy Drucker (Lux) Accent.jobs-Willems Verandas
10. Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony

Final overall standings
1. Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Saur-Sojasun
2. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 43s
3. John Degenkolb (Ger) Argos-Shimano @ 45s
4. Carlos Betancur (Col) Acqua & Sapone @ 1’03”
5. Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) FDJ-BigMat @ 1’06”
6. Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar @ 1’07”
7. Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 1’18”
8. Rob Ruijgh (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 1’27”
9. Martin Elmiger (Swi) AG2R La Mondiale
10. Laurent Pichon (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller


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