Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ) won the opening stage of the five-day Étoile de Bessèges in Tuesday’s 150km run from Beaucaire to Bellegarde in southern France.
Hutarovich won ahead of compatriot Anthony Ravard (Ag2r), while Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil) crossed the line third. Strong winds up to 70kpm were a major factor throughout the race and caused several splits in the pack.
Team Type 1’s Laszlo Bodrigo worked into the day’s main break, sneaking away with four other riders to open a promising three-minute gap. The sprinter teams collaborated to reel them it and it was all set up for the mass gallop. Strong winds split the group yet again in the final 40km, but it all came together for the sixth and final finishing circuit for the bunch sprint.
Hutarovich’s win is FDJ’s second inside a week, coming on the heels of Jérémy Roy’s at the GP La Marseillaise on Sunday.
Top ten results:
- 1. Yauheni Hutarovich (BLR/FDJ) 150 km in 3:32:23.
- 2. Anthony Ravard (FRA/AG2R) s.t.
- 3. Bjorn Leukemans (BEL/Vacansoleil) s.t.
- 4. Cedric Pineau (FRA/FDJ) s.t.
- 5. Saud Haddou (FRA/Europcar) s.t.
- 6. Evaldas Siskevicius (LTU/La Pomme Marseille) s.t.
- 7. Stefan Van Dijk (NED/Veranda’s Willems) s.t.
- 8. Cyril Lemoine (FRA/Saur-Sojasun) s.t.
- 9. Stephane Poulhies (FRA/Saur-Sojasun) s.t.
- 10. Jarl Salomein (BLEL/Topsport Vlaanderen) s.t.