Tour de Picardie: Casper takes final stage, Feillu overall
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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tour de Picardie: Casper takes final stage, Feillu overall

by VeloNation Press at 1:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
French rule the day in Péronne

Jimmy CasperFrench fortune shined today during the third and final stage of the Tour de Picardie, with Frenchman Jimmy Casper (Saujasun-Saur) taking the stage win and his compatriot Romain Feillu (Vacansoleil) snatching the overall victory from Lithuanian Egidijus Juodvalkis (Landbouwkrediet) with his sprint to third place on the day.  Italian Filippo Pozzato (Katusha) finished the stage in second place.

The final stage, a 189.5 kilometer ride from Charly-sur-Marne to Péronne, saw 125 riders take the start, with Quick Step's Gert Steegmans notably absent after he was forced to abandon following a crash in yesterday's stage.  Today's route was the longest of the three, and would see the peloton take in several short climbs.

As with the previous day, the start was fast and a large group of close to 20 riders peeled off the front of the peloton early.  After they were reabsorbed, a larger group of 25 tried their chances, but the peloton wasn't content with letting such a large group go.

It wasn't until the first sprint of the day that a group of five was allowed to break free.  It included Matthew Halleguen (Bretagne Schuller), Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step), Cyril Lemoine (Saur-Saujasun), Evert Verbyst (Verandas Willems-Accent) and Jens Debusschere (Omega Pharma-Lotto).  The quintet worked together to build a maximum lead of more than 2 minutes on the chase, but the peloton behind worked hard to keep the group in check.

By the time they reached the closing circuit in Péronne the break's lead was down to 1 minute 30 seconds, with Landbouwkrediet working hard behind to protect the lead of their man Juodvalkis.  With 14 kilometers left to race the break was doomed, and the speed was kept high as the peloton charged towards the line.

In the final sprint Casper was too fast for the Italian Pozzato, with Feillu ending the stage in third, enough to secure the overall victory.  Feillu took the overall title with eight seconds in hand on Belgian Kenny De Haes, who will take home the Green Jersey as a consolation. Johan Le Bon secured the best climber's jersey.


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