Jürgen Roelandts secures Circuit Franco Belge victory as Nacer Bouhanni takes final stage
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Jürgen Roelandts secures Circuit Franco Belge victory as Nacer Bouhanni takes final stage

by Ben Atkins at 3:01 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
French champion finally prevails as stage one winning Belgian does “la course en tête” in four-day race

jurgen roelandtsNacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat) finally took his victory in the final stage of the Eurométropole Tour/Circuit Franco-Belge between Mons and Tournai. The French champion prevailed in the bunch sprint - after being pushed into second by Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) in the two previous stages - ahead of 2010 race winner Adam Blythe (BMC Racing) and race leader Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto-Belisol).

Third place for Roelandts - and the time bonus that came with it - was enough to secure the former Belgian champion overall victory in the race that he has led since winning the opening stage.

“The team did a great job today,” he said. “None of the escapees were dangerous four my place in the GC, so it all went smoothly. The attacks of [Team Sky’s Juan Antonio] Flecha were mainly to get a place on the podium I guess, in the end he became second. Flecha was actually too far behind me, that’s why I didn’t follow him the first time, but I did later on, because you never know he would persist. We were the two strongest men in the race. Safeguarding my overall victory was the most important today. After that sprint uphill I was a bit tired at the finish, so I was surprised I still became third.

“From the Tour on everything went great, also the Olympic road race and the world championship. This victory is a nice crown on the end of the year. Now I’m going to recuperate and then I’ll go for it one more time in Paris-Tours next week. It’s a race that certainly suits me.”

After the initial attacking flurries, the 158km stage saw a breakaway from Jean-Lou Paiani (Saur-Sojasun), Thomas Bertolini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia), Tim De Troyer (Accent.jobs-Willems Verandas), Zico Waeytens (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator), Boris Dron (Wallonie Bruxelles-Crédit Agricole) and Gediminas Bagdonas (AN Post-Sean Kelly). They were soon joined by Rob Ruigh (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Dron’s teammate Serge Dewortelaer and, since none was any threat to Roelandts’ lead, they were allowed to get more than three minutes clear as they hit the seven 14.7km finishing circuits.

At the third time across the line, the seven leaders’ advantage reached a maximum of 3’48”, before the peloton began to close them down. Steadily the gap began to close until, with just under 35km to go, the race was all back together.

After an immediate, but unsuccessful, counterattack, Flecha launched his own move, and was joined by ten other riders. The group was soon whittled down to just four however, with Flecha, Coen Vermeltfoort (Rabobank) and Egiotz Garcia (Euskaltel-Euskadi), with Roelandts himself having made it across the gap. This group too was soon neutralised, with Dennis van Winden (Rabobank) trying to escape in the final kilometres.

The hilly circuit had taken its toll on the peloton, with several riders - including double stage winner Kittel - left behind. A crash in the final kilometre meant that it was a very small bunch that sprinted for the victory, with Bouhanni able to show his tricolore jersey for the second time since winning it back in June.

Result stage 4
1. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat
2. Adam Blythe (GBr) BMC Racing Team
3. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
4. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator
5. Roy Jans (Bel) AN Post-Sean Kelly
6. Kristof Goddaert (Bel) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Benjamin Verraes (Bel) Accent.jobs-Willems Verandas
8. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Joeri Stallaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
10. Jérôme Kerf (Bel) Idemasport-Biowanze

Final overall standings
1. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
2. Juan Antonio Flecha (Spa) Team Sky @ 17s
3. Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank @ 18s
4. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step @ 19s
5. Karsten Kroon (Ned) Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank @ 34s
6. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ-BigMat @ 42s
7. Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge @ 57s
8. David Boucher (Fra) FDJ-BigMat @ 59s
9. Egoitz Garcia (Spa) Cofidis @ 1’01”
10. Stijn Neirnynck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator

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