4 Jours de Dunkerque: Arnaud Démare shows his class with dominant stage two sprint
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Thursday, May 2, 2013

4 Jours de Dunkerque: Arnaud Démare shows his class with dominant stage two sprint

by Ben Atkins at 11:02 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Four Days of Dunkirk
Maillot Rose led to the line by FDJ and powers unchallenged to second victory

arnaud demareArnaud Démare (FDJ) took his second straight victory in the 2013 edition of the Quatre Jours de Dunkerque as he powered ahead of the rest of the sprinters to win stage two, between the Historical Mining Centre in Lewarde and Douchy les Mines. The former under-23 World champion was led into the finishing straight by his FDJ team and, launching himself from the wheel of Mickaël Delage, sprinted clear and rode virtually unchallenged to the line.

Adrien Petit (Cofidis) tried, but failed, to stay with Démare as he accelerated, and was overtaken by Kenny van Hummel (Vacansoleil-DCM), Ramon Sinkeldam (Argos-Shimano) and Raymond Kreder (Garmin-Sharp) on the way to the line.

Victory in the 178.2km stage - which featured three sectors of Roubaix-style cobbles - meant that Démare increased his lead in the overall classification over van Hummel and Sinkeldam, who both trail the Frenchman by ten seconds.

The main break of the day came from Evaldas Siskevicius (Sojasun), Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché), Yves Lampaert (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Flavien Dassonville (BigMat-Auber 93), who escaped in the early kilometres. The quartet was never able to build a big lead, however, and with 90km to go was just two minutes ahead of the peloton, which was led by race leader Démare’s FDJ team.

With 60km to go the group was still 1’30”, but a sudden acceleration from AG2R La Mondiale - as the peloton passed through the narrow streets of Romeries and Vertain - slashed the break’s advantage to just 30 seconds with 57km to go. The French ProTeam continued to set its fast pace on the small lanes that followed, with FDJ, Europcar and Garmin-Sharp all lending a hand, cut it to just 18 seconds with 54km to go, but the peloton then sat up to let it drift out again.

With 50km to go the gap was just 15 seconds, however, as they arrived at the 1.2km sector of cobbles at Saulzoir. Damien Gaudin (Europcar) - who had been the French hero in Paris-Roubaix a few weeks before - and lifted the pace further; FDJ then took over again as one-by-one the four breakaway riders were caught.

Shortly afterwards, however, Julien El Fares (Sojasun) attacked, and was joined by Rudy Kowalski (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) and, despite FDJ holding station at the head of the peloton, were a minute clear with 34km to go. As they crossed the finish line with 31.4km to go, to start the two 15.7km finishing circuits, the two riders’ lead was up to 1’04”.

The FDJ team allowed the two leaders to stay a minute clear for most of the first lap but accelerated towards the end to cut the gap to just 19 seconds as they hit the line for the penultimate time. With the inevitability of their impending capture, both riders began to sit up and, despite the fact that the teams at the head of the peloton were none too keen to catch them, the break was over with 13km to go.

Vacansoleil-DCM then took over the head of the peloton and began to string it out to prevent anybody else from slipping away. FDJ took over again with five kilometres to go, only for Cofidis to fight its way past a kilometre later; several teams were massing behind the red and white team, with sprinters in tow, however, and it was FDJ that took over again as the peloton entered the outskirts of Douchy.

Démare was tucked in a few riders back behind lead out man Mickaël Delage, however, and Garmin-Sharp took over the lead with just over a kilometre and a half to go. The American team led under the flamme rouge, as the course turned 90 degrees to the left but, with the team lacking organisation it sat up shortly afterwards.

FDJ then took over again and, as Delage pulled over, Démare jumped and sprinted unchallenged to the line.

Result stage 2
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
2. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
3. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Argos-Shimano
4. Raymond Kreder (Ned) Garmin-Sharp
5. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis
6. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
7. Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise
8. Fabian Schnaidt (Ger) Champion System
9. Stefan Van Dijk (Ned) Accent.jobs-Wanty
10. Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environment

Standings after stage 2
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
2. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 10s
3. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Argos-Shimano
4. Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environment @ 12s
5. Mertens (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise @ 15s
6. Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Sojasun @ 16s
7. Julien Duval (Fra) Roubaix-Lille Métropole
8. Flavien Dassonville (BigMat-Auber 93
9. Adrien Petit (Fra) Cofidis @ 17s
10. Mickaël Delage (Fra) FDJ @ 18s


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