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Bernhard Eisel (Columbia) played off the interests of the French teams Thursday to sneak away with Paris-Bourges, the final round of the season-long French Cup series.
Eisel followed Cédric Pineau (Ag2r-La Mondiale) into the day’s main breakaway just 18km into the 194km race and then nipped him in a photo finish.
“It was a very fast start (48kph in first hour). I didn’t think it was going to be enough, but 13 minutes was good,” Eisel said.
It was just the second win of the season for the 27-year-old Austrian finisseurs to go along with a stage in the Volta a Algarve in Portugal back in February.
Anthony Charteau (Caisse d’Epargne) came through third among the top-five who stayed clear of the peloton.
“The first kilometers were very fast and I went with the first real break of the day together with five other riders. The bunch did not react to our attack and as a consequence the gap reached more than 13 minutes,” Charteau said. “I was feeling very well in the final of the race, but unfortunately the climbs were situated too far from the finish and in the sprint the Austrian rider Bernard Eisel, who is a specialist, was unbeatable. I have no regret and I am very optimistic for Paris-Tours which will take place on next Sunday.”
A promising trio that included Philippe Gilbert (FDJeux), Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) and Matti Breschel (CSC-Saxo Bank) chased out of the main pack in the closing kilometers, but left it short.
“It was a strange and very tactical race because already after 18 kilometers a group of six escaped and we never saw them again. They only had a lead of 13-14 minutes but the chase was never really initiated in the peloton so they weren’t caught,” said Team CSC Saxo Bank sports director Dan Frost. “I think the French teams were having some kind of internal fight because it was the last of the French races. Francaise des Jeux lead the team’s competition and Bouygues Telecom had the individual leader and none of them had anyone in the break. But still they never stepped up and organized a chase so it was a very strange race.”
Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom) clinched the overall in the Coupe de France for the first time in his career.
Pineau won the overall ahead of David Le Lay (148-114) without winning a race during the series. Frédéric Guesdon was third with 96 points.
1. Bernhard Eisel (AUT/COL) 194km in 4:35:54. (42.189 kmh/26.2 mph)
2. Cedric Pineau (FRA/A2R) m.t.
3. Anthony Charteau (FRA/GCE) m.t.
4. Antoine Dalibard (FRA/BAL) m.t.
5. Nicolas Hartmann (FRA/COF) m.t.
6. Philippe Gilbert (BEL/FDJ) ? 5:26.
7. Thomas Voeckler (FRA/BTL) 5:26.
8. Matti Breschel (DE/CSC) 5:26.
9. Renaud Dion (FRA/A2R) 5:26.
10. Stefan Van Dijk (NED/MIT) 5:41.
11. Anthony Ravard (FRA/AGR) 5:41.
12. Steve Chainel (FRA/AUB) 5:41.
13. Alexandre Usov (BLR/A2R) 5:41.
14. Florian Vachon (FRA/RLM) 5:41.
15. Steven Caethoven (BEL/AGR) 5:41.
23. Fr?d?ric Guesdon (FRA/FDJ) 5:41.
25. William Bonnet (FRA/C.A) 5:41.
59. Nick Nuyens (BEL/COF) 5:47.
60. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA/COF) 5:47.
62. Jose Joaquin Rojas (ESP/GCE) 5:47.
64. J?r?me Pineau (FRA/BTL) 5:47.
73. Jimmy Casper (FRA/AGR) 5:47.
74. Anthony Geslin (FRA/BTL) 5:47.
81. Nicolas Vogondy (FRA/AGR) 5:47.
93. David Le Lay (FRA/AGR) 5:55.