Tour Picardie: Marcel Kittel wins crash-marred opening stage
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Friday, May 10, 2013

Tour Picardie: Marcel Kittel wins crash-marred opening stage

by Ben Atkins at 2:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
German continues unbeatable streak in northern France

marcel kittelMarcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) continued his recent unbeatable streak as he sprinted to his seventh victory of the season in the opening stage of the Tour Picardie, between Guise and Flixecourt. The 23-year-old German, whose preceding month saw him win the Scheldeprijs and three stages of the Presidential Tour of Turkey, was led to the line by his team and managed to beat London 2012 Omnium medallist Bryan Coquard (Europcar).

Third place was taken by Erwann Corbel (Bretagne-Séché) after a crash in the closing kilometres disrupted a number of teams’ sprint trains.

"I am really happy with this win,” said Kittel afterwards. “In the beginning of the race I didn’t feel great, but in the final I found my legs. After the Tour of Turkey I had some time off but did also some quality training.

"We past the finish line once before the finish so we could do a reckon and made a good plan for it. We decided to come to the front as late as possible as there was quite a cross wind and the road was very wide. As soon as we entered the final five kilometres it was very hectic.

"Unfortunately we lost Tom Veelers but as soon as we were on speed again, the other guys brought me to the front. With 160 metres to go I started to sprint, it was a very long and hard sprint but luckily I made it.

"It is really good to see that everybody believes in the plan and that everybody stayed cool and relaxed. The experience that we have now in combination with the trust that everybody has makes us successful."

Six kilometres into the 190km stage Gert Jõeäär (Cofidis) attacked, with Jean Lou Paiani (Sojasun), Rudy Kowalski (Roubaix Lille Métropole), Thomas Rostollan (La Pomme Marseille) and Sven Vandousselaere (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). The five riders were eight minutes clear after 25km before the sprinters’ teams of Argos-Shimano and FDJ began to pull them back.

Kowalski was first over Côte de Templeux-la-Fosse at the halfway point, which was the one topographic obstacle in the entire route. Jõeäär then took the first intermediate sprint, in Sailly-Saillisel 11km further on. As the group passed through the World War I Somme battlefield town of Albert, with 63km to go, its lead was down to just 2’30”.

With the peloton on their heels Vandousselaere and Jõeäär left the other three behind but, as the Belgian took the second intermediate sprint on the first crossing of the finish line, with just a 12.5km finishing circuit to go, they were just 30 seconds clear and were caught soon afterwards.

Disaster struck for FDJ as Belarusian lead out man Yauheni Hutarovich went down in a crash with four kilometres to go, which put sprinter Arnaud Démare out of position. Argos-Shimano then manoeuvred Kittel into position where he managed to hold off the close attentions of Coquard.

Result stage 1
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
3. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environment
4. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
5. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
6. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
7. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
8. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Sojasun
9. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
10. Lloyd Mondory (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale

Standings after stage 1
1. Marcel Kittel (Ger) Argos-Shimano
2. Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar @ 4s
3. Sven Vandousselaere (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise @ 5s
4. Erwann Corbel (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environment @ 6s
5. Benjamin Giraud (Fra) La Pomme Marseille @ 10s
6. Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
7. Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
8. Kenny van Hummel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Maxime Daniel (Fra) Sojasun
10. Jürgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol

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