Giro d’Italia: FDJ net third place after rough-and-tumble stage one
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Giro d’Italia: FDJ net third place after rough-and-tumble stage one

by Kyle Moore at 7:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia, Injury
Doctor visits required, though Bouhanni soothes the pain sprinting to third

Nacer BouhanniWith a typically nervous peloton on stage one of any Grand Tour – in this case the Giro d’Italia – a number of small crashes dusted up the peloton in Naples on Saturday, and many of the skirmishes seemed to involve a white and blue kit from FDJ.

After the stage, team director Martial Gayant was totaling up the scrapes and injuries suffered during the stage. Although FDJ sprinter Nacer Bouhanni was able to salvage a good result, when many of the sprinter’s teams were caught behind an accident inside the final three kilometres, which split the field and put a handful of sprinters out of the running before the gallop had begun.

The front man for Bouhanni’s lead-out, the Canadian Dominique Rollin, was caught up in the crash with two kilometres to race, according to Gayant. “Rollin was still in contact with Nacer, but was involved in the fall two kilometres from the finish line, which had a lot to do with the Italian [Francesco] Chicchi,” Gayant noted.

Toward the back end of the stage, 22-year-old Johan Le Bon crashed on the first stage of his Grand Tour debut, getting tied up with a Euskaltel-Euskadi rider on the left-hand barrier. Many roads were considerably narrow on the Naples circuits, but it was FDJ rider Laurent Pinchon who suffered one of the bloodier incidents of the day, seemingly on his own near the middle of a wider stretch of road.

Pinchon was slow to get up, and made at least one visit to the doctor’s car to help quell some bleeding in his mouth, but the Frenchman did finish the stage and will continue in today’s team time trial.

“Johan Le Bon fell harmlessly,” Gayant stated. “However, for Laurent Pinchon, who is riding his first Grand Tour, it’s a little more. He finished the stage courageously but was then accompanied to the hospital to sew up his chin and get a tooth looked at, as it is in very poor condition.”

As with some of its wounded riders, FDJ sprinter Bouhanni showed a lot of mettle in sprinting to third place on stage one, coming from the back of the split in the field and coming around all but stage winner Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and runner-up Elia Viviani (Cannondale). Bouhanni had a rough battle with Adam Blythe (BMC Racing) for Cavendish’s wheel, but the Frenchman won out, allowing him the ideal spot to sweep around the right side and unleash an unimpeded sprint.

But he couldn’t add to his four wins already this season, and he was concise in his comments afterward. “I’m pleased with my result. Cavendish was unbeatable anyway, so I got my place,” Bouhanni concluded.

“We start the Giro just as we did in 2012,” Gayant added. “A year ago, Geoffrey Soupe finished third in the first stage. Sunday we contest the team time trial, which is quite hilly on the island of Ischia in front of Naples. I hope Laurent Pinchon will be able to follow our train.”


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