Hutarovitch gives Française des Jeux third win in Tour Med
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Hutarovitch gives Française des Jeux third win in Tour Med

by Bjorn Haake at 11:12 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results

In stage three of the Tour Méditerranéen, Yauheni Hutarovitch of Française des Jeux repeated his stage one victory in a sprint, besting Fabien Bacquet (BigMat-Auber 93) and Mathieu Drujon (Caisse d'Epargne). Leonardo Duque (Col/Cofidis, le Crédit en Ligne) and William Bonnet (Bbox-Bouygues Telecom) followed in fourth and fifth. Hutarovitch's teammate, Jussi Veikkanen, stays in the leader's jersey.

Two big names made the stage quite interesting, as Alejandro Valverde and Alexander Vinokourov went on the break royale. The duo stayed away for 70 kilometers, but with Valverde sitting close in the overall, Française des Jeux made sure the two didn't get away too far.

Despite having to finish the day in the peloton, Valverde was quite happy to have found the right wheel. "Stéphane Augé was the first to attack after only five kilometers," Valverde said after the stage. With only 115km to race, Valverde saw his chance. "It was a very short stage. Today it was not as cold and sunny, so the conditions were really better [than in previous days]."

When Valverde jumped after Augé, he noticed he wasn't the only one. "When I looked behind I saw that Vinokourov was on my wheel. I went to the front and we remained only two in the lead: Vino and me." The two attackers decided to keep going to "see what could happen."

The terrain helped them with several category two climbs. "In the first kilometers, which were rather hard, the gap with the bunch increased to a minute a half." This looked promising, but the race didn't stay hilly, which doomed the efforts.

"Later the race route changed completely, it was all flat and with head wind," Valverde said. This was good news for the peloton and Valverde encountered another problem. "In the last hill Vinokourov was no longer able to follow my rhythm and I was alone ahead of the race. I decided to stop my effort and wait for the bunch as I knew that sooner or later they would catch me."

Valverde was quite pleased, even if he was unable to take the overall lead. He still sits ten seconds behind, in seventh place and is now only thinking about rest. "Tomorrow I will recover quietly in the bunch so I'll be very well on Sunday, because the last stage is the one which will decide who the overall winner will be."

The race ends traditionally on the Mont Faron, a climb in the port city of Toulon. The final stage of 126km will be on Sunday, featuring two cat 2 and two cat 1 climbs.

The penultimate stage on Saturday is from La Londe Les Maures to Biot over 160km. Part of the route will be alongside the Mediterranean Sea, near some of the vacation hotspots like St. Tropez.

Results stage 3: Greasque-Six Fours (115 km)

1 Yauheni Hutarovich (La Francaise Des Jeux) 2h33'19 (43,4 km/h)
2 Fabien Bacquet (Big Mat - Auber 93)
3 Mathieu Drujon (Caisse d'Epargne)
4 William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
5 Leonardo-Fabio Duque (Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne)
6 Alexandre Pichot (Bbox Bouygues Telecom)
7 Alessandro Donati (Acqua & Sapone)
8 Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d'Epargne)
9 Michel Kreder (Garmin Transitions-Pro)
10 Jérémie Galland (Saur-Sojasun)

GC after stage 3

1 Jussi Veikkanen (La Française Des Jeux) 8h42'11
2 William Bonnet (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) at 0'04
3 Mathieu Drujon (Caisse d'Epargne) 0'06
4 Maxim Iglinskiy (Astana)
5 Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d'Epargne) 0'10
6 Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne)
7 Anthony Ravard (Ag2R La Mondiale)
8 Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team)
9 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ag2R La Mondiale)
10 Jean-Marc Marino (Saur-Sojasun) 0'17


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