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Brandon McNulty goes solo for marquee win at Faun-Ardèche Classic

American talent continues sizzling start to the season with victory in French classic, Sepp Kuss finishes third after two-rider chase.

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Brandon McNulty (UAE Team Emirates) won his second race of the season at the Faun-Ardèche Classic with a solo attack that is becoming a trademark.

The 23-year-old American attacked out of the lead group of the hilly French race at 25km to go before blazing away solo to win by 45 seconds.

Mauri Vansevenant (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) and Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma) set off in pursuit of the Arizonan’s move but were unable to reel in the big-engined American, who can count the win as the biggest of his young career.

McNulty is no doubt on a tear after victory at Trofeo Calvia in January and placing second overall at the Volta ao Algarve last week. He also finished second behind Alejandro Valverde at the Trofeo Pollenca in Mallorca earlier in winter.

Vansevenant kicked past Kuss in the two-up sprint to decide the podium-places.

Despite missing out on second, the result is also a huge breakout for Kuss in his season debut, scoring a first podium-finish in a marquee classic.

The tough race through the hills of southeast France made for a who’s-who of talent, and all-eyes had been on the likes of Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard (both Jumbo-Visma) and Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) to come out top.

Although Alaphilippe finished in 25th, it was the world champ that made some of the decisive moves in the final.

The Frenchman started the attacks out of the bunch ahead of the decisive Romain de Lerps summit, forcing Roglič and Victor Lafay (Cofidis) to follow before a handful more bridged to form a select lead group.

Kuss and Vansevenant went off the front of the attackers first, but McNulty motored across to them and kept on riding, going clear over the Lerps climb and hanging on through the final for victory.