Tour du Poitou Charentes: Martin 12th, Vakoc 18th as Etixx - Quick-Step Stays Active
Etixx - Quick-Step constantly tried to enter into the actions of 187km Tour du Poitou Charentes Stage 1 on Tuesday, with Tony Martin making the breakaway that eventually decided the opening day.
Arnaud Gerard (Bretagne - Séché Environnement) won with a 1" advantage over Maxime Daniel (AG2R - La Mondiale), and 3" over Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL - Jumbo). Those three riders were members of a 12-rider escape group. Matteo Trentin tried to bridge inside the final ilometers, but was unsuccessful.
Petr Vakoc crossed in 18th place, out of the peloton that was 11" down on Gerard.
Julian Alaphilippe also attacked earlier in the race, and was joined by two other riders. Their gap was small and they were caught. David Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) then went solo, gaining as much as a 30" advantage with 19.1km remaining, but he was also brought back as 9 kilometers were left to race.
Etixx - Quick-Step looks next to 194.7km Stage 2, from Blanzac-Porcheresse to La Creche, on Wednesday.
"The parcours today was up-and-down, with narrow roads, but the team did very well," Sport Director Tom Steels said. "In the final we were there try to contest the victory. Julian tried with an attack from far, and when they caught him and the other two guys in the breakaway, and then they brought back an attack from another rider, there was a counter attack with Tony that went until the end to contest the victory. I have to say that Tony surprised me. Only two days after Hamburg, and at his second race after his come back, he was able to stay in the front of an important action that went at the finish. Tony is really in the good path to return to his level."