Grega Bole claimed 4th place in GP Ouest France – Plouay. The UCI WorldTour one-day race ended with a bunch sprint finish.
I entered the final kilometer far back in the group, and with 500 meters to go, I was blocked and lost my rhythm. When Kristoff took off with 200 meters to go I was still a little bit too far, but when space ahead of me opened up I began my sprint and managed to finish in the top – Grega Bole explains.
I am slightly surprised with my performance today, since I didn’t feel very strong lately and my form was not as good as it was in 2011, when I won the race in Plouay. It’s been a long season and my legs are not as fresh as I would like, but I like the course of GP Ouest France and apparently even if I’m not in my top shape I can still deliver good result here.
On the final climb, many riders tried to pull away. Also I made an attempt, but when I accelerated something got tangled in the breaks. I lost some time to take it out and I lost about 50 positions. As it turned out it worked for my favor, since I had more energy for the sprint.
The race featured eight undulating, 26,9-kilometer circuits around Plouay plus one shorter lap at the very end, which was 14 kilometers long. Frederik Backaert (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), Fumiyuki Beppu (Trek Factory Racing), Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne – Séché Environnement), Alexandre Pichot (Europcar) and Quentin Jauregui (Ag2R La Mondiale) broke clear soon after the start. They quickly established 10-minute lead, but the bunch also started the chase early.
The escape was caught with 45 kilometers to go and the peloton became lively right away. New leading group was formed and it included Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal), Michael Rogers (Tinkoff-Saxo), Philip Deignan (Team Sky), Simon Clarke (Orica GreenEDGE), Silvan Dillier (BMC Racing), Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) and Matteo Bono (Lampre Merida). They were riding in the front for some time, but the chasing group never let them build too much of the gap.
Later Wellens, Lutsenko i Dillier pulled away from the break and other escapees were reeled in. Wellens was next one to be brought back to the bunch. The remaining duo’s journey in the lead ended on the last hill, 4 kilometers from the finish. On the final climb many riders tried to attack but eventually it came down to a bunch sprint.
Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) was the strongest of the sprinters who managed to stay in the main group and took the win. Grega Bole, 2011 GP Ouest France winner, took 4th. Simone Ponzi (Southeast) and Ramunas Navardauskas (Team Cannondale – Garmin) came in ahead of the Slovenian rider from CCC Sprandi Polkowice and claimed 2nd and 3rd respectively.