By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright 2002 AFP
Jean Delaour’s Patrice Halgand won the opening stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk in northern France, taking the 181.6km stage over breakaway companions Janek Tombak (Cofidis) and Linas Balciunas (Ag2R).
The trio were part of a lead group of about two dozen riders that formed 75km into the race and included some notable sprinters as well as last year’s Dunkirk winner Didier Rous (Bonjour). The group would finish three-and-a-half minutes over the field, with Mapei’s Andrea Tafi and CSC’s Laurent Jalabert among those missing out.
As the race approached the finish in Wasquehal, the attacks began to come fast and furious, but inevitably came down to the sprint won by Halgand.
1. Patrice Halgand (F), Jean Delatour, 181.6km in 4:02:02; 2. Janek Tombak (Est), Cofidis, at 0:04; 3. Linas Balcuinas (Lit), Ag2R, at 0:06; 4. Sylvain Chavanel (F), Bonjour, s.t.; 5. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz), Domo-Farm Frites, at 0:10; 6. Raivis Belohvosciks (Lat), Lampre-Daikin; 7. Bart Voskamp (Nl), Bankgiroloterij-Batavus, both s.t.; 8. Stephane Barthe (F), Saint-Quentin-Oktos, at 0:14; 9. Luciano Pagliarini (Bra), Lampre-Daikin, at 0:49; 10. Laurent Brochard (F), Jean Delatour, at 0:50.