Tour du Limousin: Björn Leukemans attacks to win stage one
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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tour du Limousin: Björn Leukemans attacks to win stage one

by Ben Atkins at 6:23 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Race Reports and Results
 
Belgian classics specialist manages to outfox the sprinters to take race lead

bjorn leukemansBjörn Leukemans (Vacansoleil-DCM) won the first stage of the Tour du Limousin between Limoges and Guéret after an attack in the closing kilometres. The Belgian managed to hold off the peloton, as well as a number of pursuing riders, to finish five seconds clear of Florian Guillou (Bretagne-Schuller), and 14 seconds ahead of Thomas Degand (Verandas Willems-Accent).

Romain Hardy (Bretagne-Schuller) led the peloton over the line some 21 seconds behind Leukemans.

The stage was dominated by breakaway groups after Ben Gastauer (AG2R La Mondiale), Arnaud Gérard (FDJ), Jean-Marc Bideau (Bretagne-Schuller), Svein Tuft (SpiderTech p/b C10), Julien El Farès (Cofidis), Morgan Kneisky (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil-DCM), Nicolas Rousseau (BigMat-Auber 93), and Yukiya Arashiro and Saïd Haddou (both Europcar) got clear.

Arashiro and Kniesky managed to escape the others and, while the peloton was still close, Anthony Geslin (FDJ) and Jonathan Thiré (Big Mat-Auber 93) managed to get across with Bideau; the new five-man group was allowed to prosper. The maximum lead achieved by the five riders was three minutes, which was when the Caja Rural team decided that it was time to bring them back.

With 40km to go the group was about to be caught when Geslin attacked again, with Arashiro right behind him. Leukemans and Jeremy Galland (Saur-Sojasun) managed to jump across to the two leaders to form a new four-man group.

Several more riders managed to get across to the lead group, including Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R-La Mondiale), Leukamans Vacansoleil-DCM teammates Rob Ruijgh and Hoogerland, and Bretagne-Schuller pair Guillou and Romain Hardy. With 10km to go though, the peloton was right on their heels.

Just as it looked like the group was to be caught Leukemans attacked again with Arashiro managing to hold on once more. Under the final kilometre though, Leukemans managed to shake off the Japanese rider, who had been in the breaks all day, and went on to finish alone.

Behind him the remnants of the break were still in pursuit, with Guillou finishing just five seconds behind, and Degand another nine seconds back. The rest found themselves swept up though, with Hardy winning the sprint for fourth.

With the time gained, as well as bonus seconds on the line, Leukemans takes the race lead but nine seconds ahead of Guillou.

Result stage 1
1. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
2. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller @ 5s
3. Thomas Degand (Fra) Verandas Willems-Accent @ 14s
4. Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller @ 21s
5. Yukiya Arashiro (Jap) Europcar
6. Maxime Meredel (Fra) BigMat-Auber 93
7. Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ
8. Alberto Ongarato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM
9. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Cofidis
10. Jean-Luc Delpech (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller

Standings after stage 1
1. Björn Leukemans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM
2. Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller @ 9s
3. Thomas Degand (Fra) Verandas Willems-Accent @ 20s
4. Jean-Marc Bideau (Fra) Bretagne-Schuller @ 27s
5. Pierrick Fédrigo (Fra) FDJ @ 28s

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