4 Jours de Dunkerque: Arnaud Démare makes it look easy as he takes three from three
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Friday, May 3, 2013

4 Jours de Dunkerque: Arnaud Démare makes it look easy as he takes three from three

by Ben Atkins at 11:16 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results, Four Days of Dunkirk
FDJ bosses the peloton on a day of attacks and is unchallenged in the sprint

arnaud demareArnaud Démare (FDJ) took his third victory in three days in the 2013 Quatre Jours de Dunkerque as he sprinted to his simplest win to date in the third stage between Oignies and Liévin. The 22-year-old was brought into the finishing straight on the wheel of lead out man Geoffrey Soupe at such a pace that there was nobody anywhere near the two FDJ riders as the entered the final 200 metres. As Démare opened up his sprint he burst clear, and was able to sit up way before the line and coast to victory.

Such was their advantage in the final metres that Soupe was able to sprint towards the line in the slipstream of his teammate to take second place, with Ramon Sinkeldam (Argos-Shimano) just unable to come past him on the line.

Ten seconds bonus on the line saw Démare increase his lead in the general classification, with four seconds lifting Sinkeldam from third to second. The sprint was only possible, however, after the FDJ team had finally neutralised an late break from Blel Kadri (AG2R La Mondiale) and Jempy Drucker (Accent.jobs-Wanty) at the end of a day of attacks.

The 179.1km stage - which featured two laps of a 23km loop that included the climbs of Mont Saint Eloi and Notre Dame de Lorette - saw a breakaway from Maxime Daniel (Sojasun), Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale) Maxime Le Montagner (Roubaix-Lille Metropole) and Jani Tewelde (MTN-Qhubeka), who escaped after just 11km. The quartet was allowed to get 7’30” ahead of the peloton after 37km, but was steadily pegged back by the FDJ team; with 80km to go this gap was down to just 2’20”.

At the 70km point the four-man group was still 2’15” ahead with FDJ none too keen to catch it too soon. The gap was to peak again at 2’40” with 56km before the white and blue team began to slowly shut it down again.

As the peloton rode through Vimy with 52km to go a group of five managed to break off the front as it took a right hand bend. In the new group were Clint Avery and Mart Ojavee (both Champion System), mountains leader Julien Duval (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), and Bretagne-Séché duo Mathieu Drujon and Théo Vimpere. While the group was just a few seconds ahead Kadri jumped across.

Despite good co-operation from most of the six riders, FDJ was in no mood to let them get away, and the counterattack was shut down with 46km to go. This activity slashed the gap to the four leaders to just 30 seconds.

Duval immediately escaped again with Kadri on his wheel, however, and the two of them managed to cross the gap to the four leaders as they approached at the foot of Mont Saint Eloi for the first time.

AG2R La Mondiale vs FDJ as the late hill zone approaches

The lead group of six now contained two each from AG2R La Mondiale and Roubaix-Lille Métropole, and was 1’20” clear as Duval sprinted ahead to take the points in front of the ruined Abbey at the top of the climb. Duval’s acceleration proved too much for teammate Le Montagner and Tewelde though, and the two of them were 20 seconds behind the others over the top.

With 35km to go the two dropped riders were swept up by the peloton, but the remaining four were now 1’51” ahead as they approached the climb of Notre Dame de Lorette.

FDJ began to lift the pace again, however, an, as the leaders hit the climb with 31km to go their advantage had been cut to 1’30”. Duval accelerated again, which saw Houle dropped almost immediately, and the Canadian was soon followed out the back by Daniel, but it was Kadri that managed to break clear on the short, steep slopes and rode away solo past the vast French World War I cemetery at the top.

Several riders broke clear of the peloton as it his the climb, led by Edwig Cammaerts (Cofidis), and very quickly a new breakaway group was formed. With Cammaerts were several riders, including Yannick Martinez (La Pomme Marseille), Vincent Jérôme (Europcar), Benoît Vaugrenard and Anthony Geslin (FDJ), Cyrille Patoux (Roubaix-Lille Métropole) and Florian Vachon (Bretagne-Séché).

The group was quickly closed down by the front half of the peloton, only for further attacks to go, with Gregor Gazvoda (Champion System), David Lelay (Sojasun), Pirmin Lang (IAM Cycling) and Julien Antomarchi (La Pomme Marseille) getting away. The group soon caught up with Daniel, who jumped on the back; Kadri and Duval were still up the road, with the AG2R La Mondiale rider 40 seconds ahead of his former companion and 1’30” over the peloton.

FDJ was line up at the head of the peloton again though, closing this new chase group down; Lelay attacked again with Christophe Riblon (AG2R La Mondiale) but they were shut down again. The flurry of attacks had cut Kadri’s lead to 50 seconds as he entered the final 20km, with the peloton catching Duval shortly afterwards.

Kadri was now climbing Mont Saint Eloi again, as Duval attacked out of the peloton again 42 seconds behind him. Over the top with 18.7km to go the lone leader was still 36 seconds clear of the peloton, with Duval - having taken more points towards his mountains jersey - in between.

Kadri began to pull more seconds out of the peloton as it sat up after the descent, and Jean-Lou Paiani (Sojasun) attacked in pursuit. The rolling roads were beginning to have an effect on the AG2R La Mondiale rider, as José Gonçalves (La Pomme Marseille) and Dominic Klemme (IAM Cycling) joined Paiani in pursuit. With 12km to go Kadri was 40 seconds ahead of this new chase group, however, with the peloton now a minute behind.

FDJ refused to led the trio get far ahead and closed it down to just a few seconds with nine kilometres to go. Gonçalves attacked, however, catching Kadri on the lower slopes of the Notre Dame de Lorette; the peloton was just 15 seconds behind.

Kadri kicked again, dropping Gonçalves, but Jempy Drucker (Accent.jobs-Wanty) jumped away from the peloton and caught the Frenchman before he could reach the top. As they started their descent with just 7.5km to go the two riders were just a few seconds clear, but FDJ was still present at the head of the peloton - with Démare in fourth wheel - and they were to get no further.

As MTN-Qubeka joined the chase the two fugitives were finally closed down with 3.5km to go.

With two to go there was an attack from a La Pomme Marseille rider, but he was soon back in the peloton after taking the long route around a roundabout.

Under the flamme rouge Vacansoleil-DCM took over from FDJ, but Soupe and Démare were right behind the Dutch team and, as they rounded the final bend Soupe accelerated away; by the time Démare launched his sprint there was nobody around to challenge him.

Result stage 3
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
2. Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) FDJ
3. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Argos-Shimano
4. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
5. Michael Van Staeyen (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Wanty
6. Steele Von Hoff (Aus) Garmin-Sharp

Standings after stage 3
1. Arnaud Démare (Fra) FDJ
2. Ramon Sinkeldam (Ned) Argos-Shimano @ 16s
3. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM @ 20s


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