Current host of the European Championships, the city of Plouay was also hosting the usual Bretagne Classic on Tuesday. Familiar with the place since he competed yesterday in the European championship’s time trial, where he finished tenth, Anthony Roux followed up with another top 10 today. The former French champion took a decent ninth after a disorganized sprint and a lively finale where the team also got involved. 

“I asked the guys to think about themselves”, Franck Pineau

There was indeed a tricolour jersey on Tuesday morning at the start of the Bretagne Classic. However, it was not that of Arnaud Démare, expected with the national team at the European Championship on Wednesday, but that of Kevin Geniets, crowned champion of Luxembourg last Sunday. The former “Conti” rider was also a perfect example of the young team competing in Brittany (3rd youngest team in contention). “We did not have a big appointed leader like we can have in the French championship or when Thibaut is there, explained Franck Pineau. However, in this kind of races, we knew that we had a chance to do something nice with seven guys who had shown their good form during the championships. Still, we did not know how they would have recovered, and we had to take that into consideration, even more so for Anthony who had competed in the European Championship’s time trial on Monday. I just asked the guys to have fun and think about themselves because they aren’t necessarily used to do so. They are more used to working for others and it was a different approach for them today”.

Some then had the opportunity to show themselves at the start of the race, but eventually, Groupama-FDJ wasn’t represented in the breakaway that formed early in the race, which included the French time trial champion Rémi Cavagna (Deceuninck-Quick Step) and eight other riders. “We wanted to keep 3-4 guys for the final with Anthony, Kevin, Olivier and also Simon, continued Franck. On the other hand, Alexys had not recovered very well from the championship, where he did a great job, and so he had to abandon”. The peloton consistently kept the leaders under four minutes before the pace speeded up in the second half of the race. Then, some new attacks started to arise. Cavagna went solo in the lead but the bunch kept on accelerating and the Deceuninck-Quick Step’s rider was caught as the race was entering its final hour. At this point, the Groupama-FDJ’s riders got involved in some moves and even created some. Romain Seigle and Olivier Le Gac made quite a few attacks but Kevin Geniets and Simon Guglielmi also showed themselves.

“There is a good momentum, so we always want more”, Franck Pineau

“Attacking after 200 kilometers on a WorldTour Classic still means something,” said Franck. However, no attack proved decisive on Monday in the Bretagne Classic since some teams wanted to bring it all together for a sprint. The sprint did take place, but in a smaller group than expected as seven men took advantage of a split with two kilometers to go to go away. Anthony Roux could therefore only fight for the top 10, eventually taking ninth on the line. “They weren’t in a good position, but that’s how it is,” added Franck. “We’re a bit disappointed because they deserve better, and I also think there was a little lack of communication to turn towards Anthony’s sprint. I’m left a bit hungry for more but that’s because we know what the guys can do. Moreover, we’re having a run of good luck at the moment, so we tend to be greedy and to always want more. However, I had mostly young riders here and they coped with the distance well. The guys are doing really well and that’s pretty good news. Regardless, a top 10 in a WorldTour race is still a very decent result”.

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