Frenchman Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) escaped to victory at the Grand Prix de Plouay on Sunday.
Voeckler, a hero in France after valiantly and improbably holding on to the Tour de France’s yellow jersey for 10 days in 2004 before losing it to Lance Armstrong, shot off from the pack with 2.5km to ride and held off the fast-finishing peloton to secure the win.
Norwegian Thor Hushovd (Crédit Agricole) finished second with Italian Danilo Di Luca (Liquigas), the ProTour leader, in third.
As he passed the red flag marking the final kilometer, Voeckler only had a few seconds’ gap but he kept fighting right to the end.
Two days earlier, Voeckler won the Tour of Poitou-Charente, a non-Pro Tour race. Today, he was delighted to be able to savor this victory as he crossed the line.
“I could not have dreamed of a better week,” he said. “Unlike the Tour of Poitou-Charente, where I took the yellow jersey in a time trial, I got to raise my arms here in Plouay, a ProTour race.
“I felt amazing as I crossed the line. I just told myself that I had just won a major race.”