Ravard wins final Sarthe stage ahead of overall winner Sánchez
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Friday, April 09, 2010

Ravard wins final Sarthe stage ahead of overall winner Sánchez

by Bjorn Haake at 1:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 

Anthony Ravard gave the French something to cheer about as the AG2R La Mondiale rider won the bunch sprint of the final stage in the Circuit de la Sarthe. He beat Luis León Sánchez (Caisse d'Epargne) and Julien Simon (Saur - Sojasun) to the line. Sánchez was smiling anyway, as he won the overall classification. It was Ravard's second win in the race, after he already took the morning stage on Wednesday.

Ravard was quite happy at the finish. "I really wanted to come here as it was important to have a sprinter at the start. The two victories give confidence to the team and now I think my teammates certainly will want to do the same thing!"

Ravard is otherwise a teammate himself. "Yesterday, I worked quite a bit for Christophe [Riblon], who was our leader for the overall. I protected him from the wind, but I was unable to get over the last difficulties of the day and that is a pity, as this stage also ended in a sprint."

Ravard knew he could do better than that. "This morning I told Gilles Mas [directeur sportif] that I was feeling well." AG2R picked the right tactic. "We first let the break develop with Dimitri [Champion] and Christophe." In the final the team led him out very well. "Christophe did another superb job, he strung out the peloton in the last 500 meters."

From there it was almost easy for the Frenchman. "I went from the front in the last corner and I succeeded to take the right wheel to win."

Sánchez  going well for rest period

Sánchez was also well protected by his Caisse colleagues. "I want to thank all my teammates, because this a really difficult race to control for the leader." His teammate José Ivan Gutierrez had to drop out earlier. "Only six riders take part in it and one of us had to abandon, so we just were five."

Sánchez had initially planned to be in a non-race period and decided very late to take part in the race. "My aim in this competition was to get over the tiredness of Paris-Nice and the Volta a Catalunya and to keep with the rhythm for the next events." He kept his rhythm alright, by winning the overall.

"I felt in good shape after the victory in the first stage and I am quite happy of retaining the lead until the end of the race," the Spaniard said.

With around 30 riders within 48 seconds, attacks went from the gun. Pierre Rolland, Stéphane Augé and Maxime Mederel managed to sneak away after 20 kilometers. They stayed ahead until km 130, with a maximum gap of 3'15. At this point the race had already entered the finishing circuit over 10km, to be raced six times.

In the fourth lap, a move with Yury Trofimov, Dimitri Champion, Rémi Cusin, Yann Huguet, Jean-Marc Marino and Ted King went clear and gained minute. But the charging peloton wasn't going to let the bunch sprint evaporate. Even Trofimov's solo try to avoid the unavoidable couldn't change that.

Stage results

1) Ravard Anthony Ag2R La Mondiale
2) Sanchez Luis Leon Caisse d'Epargne
3) Simon Julien Saur - Sojasun
4) Delpech Jean Luc Bretagne - Schuller
5) Roy Jérémy Francaise Des Jeux
6) Riblon Christophe Ag2R La Mondiale
7) Gnezda Matej Adria Mobil
8) Roux Anthony Francaise Des Jeux
9) Murn Uros
10) Deignan Philip Cervelo Test Team

Final general classification

1) Sanchez Luis Leon Caisse d'Epargne (Esp)
2) Machado Tiago Team Radioshack (Por) 00:00:14
3) Simon Julien Saur - Sojasun (Fra) 00:00:15
4) Roux Anthony Francaise Des Jeux (Fra) 00:00:19
5) Riblon Christophe Ag2R La Mondiale (Fra) 00:00:24
6) Florencio Xavier Cervelo Test Team (Esp) 00:00:27
7) Morabito Steve Bmc Racing Team (Sui) 00:00:28
8) Dumoulin Samuel Cofidis,Le Credit En Lig. (Fra) 00:00:31
9) Mahoric Mitja Adria Mobil (Slo) 00:00:33
10) Hupond Thierry Skil - Shimano (Fra) 00:00:33

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