Bryan Coquard has won the opening stage of the Route d’Occitanie. The Frenchman of B&B Hotels-Vital Concept had enough time to finish it in the final kilometer. Elia Viviani and Sonny Colbrelli had to beat Coquard.
Chris Froome, Egan Bernal, Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot, Bauke Mollema and Miguel Ángel López… They are all at the start in the Route d’Occitanie in preparation for the Tour de France, which will start in just under four weeks in Nice.
On Saturday, the opening stage featured a hilly stage with a relatively flat final. So feed for the sprinters. It took a while before a number of attackers were grabbed by the peloton.
Lilian Calmejane (Total Direct Energie), newcomer Théo Delacroix (Circus-Wanty Gobert), Antonio Angulo Sampedro (Euskatel-Euskadi), AndreasKron (Riwal Readynez) Marti Marquez Roman (Kern Pharma) who took several minutes ahead of the pack managed to drive together.
In the final phase, this leading group disintegrated after an attack by the Dane Kron. Kron got Calmejane with him, after which they got a fifty second lead to defend. The two leaders failed. They were called to order in the last twenty kilometers.
The peloton then prepared for a mass sprint. Not Viviani or Colbrelli, whose teams had done a lot of work, then went on to win. Coquard did. For the 28-year-old Frenchman, it is his first victory in over a year.