Sylvain Chavanel of the IAM Cycling team completed a successful week of racing by winning the GP Ouest-France one-day race with a perfectly-timed finishing sprint on Sunday. The classy Frenchman had a disappointing Tour de France in July but has shown some good form recently and won the Tour du Poitou-Charentes on Friday thanks to a combination of aggression and strong time trial skills.
At the GP Ouest-Plouay, Chavanel used his form to ensure he was part of the select group of seven riders that formed over the top of the last climb of the 230km race. While other riders tried to attack, scared that the peloton would catch them, Chavanel waited for the finish and then gave his all in the decisive sprint. Italy’s Andrea Fedi (Neri Sottoli) was second, with Frenchman Arthur Vichot (FDJ.fr) third. The peloton finished just two seconds behind but missed out on the glory.
Chavanel is now likely to be one of the leaders of the French national team for the rapidly approaching UCI World Road Race Championships in Ponferrada, Spain later in September and has the form the to fight for the world champion’s rainbow jersey.
“It’s great. I honestly didn’t think I’d win because I was sure the race would end in a sprint,” Chavanel said.
“I’d decided not to make any big efforts and to wait for the final three laps and then ride a smart race. It’s been a fantastic week for me. I won on my local roads at the Tour du Poitou-Charentes and then the GP Ouest-France.”
Chavanel could ride both the time trail and the road event for France at the UCI World Road Race Championships.
“Why not?” he said. “Now I’m going to ride the Tour of Britain without any pressure and then spend some time at home. I’m motivated.”
The result of the GP Ouest-France did not significantly change the UCI WorldTour rankings, with many of the best placed riders currently in action at the Vuelta a Espana –the third Grand Tour of the season.
Spain’s Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) is still the number one ranked rider with a total of 462 points. Compatriot Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) is second with 407 points and Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) is third with 392 points. Movistar leads the team ranking with 1105 points ahead of Ag2r-La Mondiale (889) and Tinkoff-Saxo (853), while Spain continues to dominate the nation ranking with 1250 points.
The Vuelta a Espana runs until September 14, when UCI WorldTour points for the race will be awarded, with other riders in action at the Grand Prix de Quebec on September 12 and at the Grand Prix du Montreal on September 14. That update will give a great indication of who will go on to top the UCI WorldTour rankings at the end of the 2014 season.