Paris - Tours: Gerts in the breakaway, Drucker finishes tenth9. October 2016, Tours (FRA) — Road Team
BMC Racing Team’s final European race for the 2016 season was action-packed and saw Floris Gerts riding as part of the day’s breakaway before the peloton stormed towards a hectic bunch sprint with Jempy Drucker crossing the line to round out the top ten at Paris - Tours.
It was a fast start to the 252.5km race with lots of early attacks off the front of the peloton before a breakaway of seven riders, including Floris Gerts, was established.
The group's advantage continued to rise over the first half of the race before settling at around 3 minutes 30 seconds.
Their advantage quickly shrunk to within 1 minute as the chase from the peloton heated up and the sprinters’ teams started to battle for both positions and control of the pace.
As the race reached the Côte de Crochu and the 25km to go marker, Greg Van Avermaet launched an attack and alongside 4 other riders he was able to clear some space ahead of the main bunch behind.
With the Van Avermaet group brought back by the peloton, the breakaway were finally caught heading into the final 13km of the day.
Attacks soon followed but they were chased down almost as quickly as the they were made and the peloton went under the flamme rouge together in preparation for a fast and furious sprint to the finish line in Tours.
A strong headwind added to the difficulty of the final section and a burst of acceleration from Fernando Gaviria with 600m to go saw the Etixx - Quick Step rider take the win while Drucker fought it out for the remaining places behind him and eventually crossed the line in tenth place.
Quotes from the Finish Line
“It was a long sprint today with Gaviria going from the turn. At one kilometer to go, I wasn’t in a great position but I tried to move up and start my sprint early to move up to the front. Then with around 250m to go I got boxed in and lost a little bit of speed but it was still okay and I didn’t finish too badly. I had a good feeling honestly coming into the race today. My first few races after the Vuelta were a bit hard and I couldn’t really find my rhythm really but the more I do, the better I feel. Bianche was good, today was good and I hope that this feeling continues and that next week in Doha is also good.”
Sports Director, Yvon Ledanois:
“It is a totally different Paris - Tours now with the completely flat finale and as a result there was a lot of sprinters in the field and lot of team who were looking to try and take control of the race today. We came into the race looking for opportunities early into the day as we thought a big group could potentially go out in front and it would be good to have Greg Van Avermaet in there. He gave it a good shot at the beginning.”
“Eventually Gerts was able to make it into the breakaway and he was working hard in that group but this year, with this configuration, it’s perfect for the sprinters’ teams so a bunch sprint was always likely. That made the race a little but more complicated for us as we don't have one big sprinter and in the finale lots of teams were trying to keep control of the race. We didn’t have a crash, we didn’t have any problems over the course of the race and this is most important thing before the World Championships.”
Paris - Tours
One-day race / 252.5km
Top 3: 1. Fernando Gaviria (Etixx - Quick Step) 2. Arnaud Démare (FDJ) 3. Jonas Van Genechten (IAM Cycling)
BMC Racing Team Top 3: 10. Jempy Drucker 18. Fabian Lienhard 39. Floris Gerts