The French drew first blood in the opening stage of the Tour de l’Avenir, which clicked into gear Saturday with a 130km circuit course in Dreux.
Julien Bérard (France B) won the stage ahead of compatriot Romain Sicard (France B) and grabbed the leader’s jersey. The two riders stayed clear in an all-day breakaway that pulled clear just seven kilometers into the stage.
The main pack, with five of the six starting Americans, roared across the line at 1:29 back, led by Dutch rider Dennis van Winden.
The two French riders attacked in the opening kilometers, soon dropping Belgian Jens Debusschere and Estonian Gert Joeaar.
The nine-day Avenir race continues Sunday with the 138km second stage from Dreux to Tourville-la-Campagne.