AG2R's Nocentini storms to victory in first Haut Var stage
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

AG2R's Nocentini storms to victory in first Haut Var stage

by Bjorn Haake at 10:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results

Perfectly launched by his AG2R team, Rinaldo Nocentini stormed away on the tough final climb in the first stage of the Tour du Haut Var. Nocentini beat Samuel Dumoulin and Bert de Waele by two seconds up the twisting final climb into Grimaud, after 175km. Nocentini launched his move with only half a kilometer left

There is only one way to get into the heart of Grimaud - up. The steepest parts of the climb measure between 15 and 20 percent. Nocentini was benefited from the work by two of his teammates who set up the win. Dumoulin and company were unable to close the gap that AG2R created just before a right hand bend.

The day was dominated by a larger break which was caught a little more than 30km from the finish. Several individual attackers tried their luck, but everything was neutralized at the beginning of the climb, inside the final kilometer.

The race was held under blue and sunny skies, but the cold wind kept the temperatures in check at around 14 degrees centigrade.

The break of the day formed with more than a dozen riders, in St. Tropez, after a little more than 20km. It included riders like Tadej Valjavec, Christophe Moreau, Kasper Klostergård, Jonathan Thiré, Brent Bookwalter, Leonardo Duque, Rein Taaramäe, Mitchell Docker and Peter Kennaugh.

Française des Jeux, who has started off their season well, chased hard and caught the break with a little more than 30km to go.

Morris Possoni attacked before the climb of the col du Bougnon, but he was quickly marked by the peloton once the road tilted upwards. Jerome Coppel (Saur) managed to peel off the front on the uphill and he crested the top solo, with 22km remaining.

Coppel, a former French junior and U23 time trial champion, reached the seaside first. His teammates kept the attacks in check, until Team Sky took over in Sainte-Maxime, with 12 kilometers to go. Coppel managed to still take the sprint but was caught with a little more than eight kilometers to go.

Arnaud Coyot (Caisse d'Epargne) made a final, desperate attempt with less than two kilometers left, but was caught after the flamme rouge, which is when AG2R took care of business and delivered their team leader for the win.


1. Rinaldo Nocentini           (ALM)     3h58'43
2. Samuel Dumoulin           (COF)        0'02
3. Bert De Waele                  (LAN)
4. Christophe Le Mevel       (FDJ)
5. Mathieu Drujon                (GCE)
6. Jérémie Galland             (SAU)
7. Steven Tronet                  (RLM)
8. Michel Kreder                  (GRM)
9. Jonas Aaen Jörgensen  (SAX)
10. Julien El Fares              (COF)


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