By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2001 AFP
Spaniard Constantino Zaballa (Kelme-Costa Blanca) won the eighth stage of the Tour de l’Avenir on Thursday, while Florent Brard (Festina) took over the leader’s yellow jersey after the mountainous 125.5km stage from Gerardmer to Belfort in eastern France.
Over the summit of the Col d’Oderen, 64km into the race, one rider was out front, Franck Pencole (BigMat-Auber), chased by Jesus Manzano (Kelme) at 50 seconds and the peloton at one minute. Manzano would catch and drop Pencole on the following climb, and the Spaniard was pursued by a chase group of seven that included Brard and Sylvain Chavanel (Bonjour). Seven more riders joined the chase group on the descent of the Ballon d’Alsace, and Manzano was caught with 10km remaining to the finish.
At the finish, Zaballa took the sprint ahead of Rafael Mateos, but with his fourth-place finish, Brard took over the race lead from Mapei’s Laszlo Bodrogi.
1. Constantino Zaballa (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca, 125.5km in 3:07:05; 2. Rafael Mateos (Sp), Colpack; 3. Geoffrey Demeyere (B), Vlaanderen; 4. Florent Brard (F), Festina; 5. Inaki Flores (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi; 6. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Bonjour; 7. Gorka Gonzalez (Sp), Euskaltel-Euskadi; 8. Sergey Kruszhevskiy (Uzb), Saint Quentin-Oktos; 9. Evgeni Petrov (Rus), Mapei-Quick Step; 10. Benoit Poilvet (F), Credit Agricole, all s.t.; Others;
11. Juan-Miguel Cuenca (Sp), Kelme-Costa Blanca; 12. Denis Menchov (Rus), iBanesto.com; 15. Eladio Jimenez (Sp), iBanesto.com, all s.t.; 17. Baden Cooke (Aus), Mercury, at 0:53; 26. Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun), Mapei-Quick Step, at 0:55; 51. Matthew Wilson (Aus), Mercury, at 6:35; 64. Phil Zajicek (USA), Mercury, at 10:10; 85. Ernie Lechuga (Mex), Mercury, at 29:03;
1. Brard; 2. Chavanel, at 0:10; 3. Cuenca, at 0:31; 4. Manzano, at 0:38; 5. Bodrogi, at 0:52.