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Van Poppel wins stage 1 of Valenciana; Clancy, Chapman triumph: Daily News Digest

by Shane Stokes

February 1, 2018

Van Poppel wins stage 1 of Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana; Fast and fastidious: How Ed Clancy turned track nous into Sun Tour success; Women’s Herald Sun TT victory for Van Vleuten, but Chapman holds onto tour; Sarreau sprints to victory on stage 1 of the Étoile de Bessèges; Ferrand-Prévot looks forward to exciting and unpredictable world cyclocross championships; Race winner, national champion and 10 others positive at Vuelta a Costa Rica; Major sprint duels anticipated at Dubai Tour; Video: Groupama-FDJ’s new jersey; Video: Priest on folding bike dazzles descending riders

Sarreau sprints to victory on stage 1 of the Étoile de Bessèges

by Shane Stokes

On a day when Groupama-FDJ showed off its new-look jersey, Marc Sarreau grabbed stage 1 of the Étoile de Bessèges in Beaucaire. He proved quicker than Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie), Bryan Coquard (Vital Concept) and the rest of the bunch in the gallop to the line.

“I put pressure on myself from several days ago,” he said. “My fitness was good at the Calpe training camp and I wanted to win quickly to benefit from that. I had this victory in mind for a long time.”

Early on three riders clipped away and established a lead of just over three and a half minutes. Michel Dieleman (Cibel-Cebon), Artiz Bagües (Euskadi Basque Country-Murias) and Milan Menten (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) did what they could to fend off the bunch’s pursuit, but the chase behind whittled down their lead. Coquard’s Vital Concept team did much of the chasing and hacked down the advantage to 50 seconds with 24 kilometres to go.

Menten cracked and slid backwards, but the Vital Concept pursuit suffered a hiccup when Coquard had a mechanical issue which delayed him. Other teams took over, forcing him to expend vital energy in the chase, and this likely affected his speed in the finale.

Dieleman and Bagües pushed on together before the former went solo, but he was hauled back with five kilometres left. The bunch gallop then played out, with 24-year-old Sarreau adding to his career wins.

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