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37th Etoile de Bessèges - Stage 1
By Podofdonny
Date: 2/7/2007
37th Etoile de Bessèges - Stage 1

Furlan back to winning ways, classy Cavendish gets close…..

Back to winning ways Angelo Furlan © Sirotti

To say that the Grand Prix d'Ouverture-La Marseillaise is a prologue for the Etoile de Bessèges, is an oversimplification. Of course the difference between a one day race and the strategies and tactics used in a stage race, does not alter from year to year. But the 37th edition had another difference this morning, had to wear the “?” shirt yesterday, this morning they were allowed to sport the sponsors colours and logos.

The first stage of the Etoile de Bessèges was between Pézenas (Hérault) and Palavas-les-Flots (Hérault), over a distance of 148,2 kilomètres. Although a break of eleven riders did manage to get clear there was to be no repeat of yesterday’s great escape. Cofidis and Credit Agricole kept the escapees well within their sights and the race came together with 10 kilometres to go and the build up for the mass sprint began.

Not that the weather was too pleasant for the riders who faced both rain and hail.

As the peloton sped along the large streets of Palavas-les-Flots it was the Italian Angelo Furlan (Crédit Agricole), who held the centre of the road and held off the efforts of young Mark Cavendish (T-Mobile) and Ruggero Marzoli (Tinkoff Credit System).

Back to winning ways Angelo Furlan © Sirotti

29 year old Furlan debuting for the Crédit Agricole this season has known a number of highs and lows since he hit the headlines in 2002 with two stage wins in the Vuelta. Very motivated this season, his victory was his first for three years so was obviously very welcome.

Angelo Furlan is also the race leader and now wears the Maillot Corail.

The T Mobile Angle

In his debut race for Team T-Mobile Mark Cavendish finished a close second behind Angelo Furlan (Credit Agricole/Italy) on Wednesday’s first stage of the "Etoile de Bèsseges". After 126 km around the French city of Marseille the Italian held off the Briton's challenge in the final sprint. Team colleague André Greiple also was up with the leaders, but was outsprinted in the last curve. Another Italian Ruggero Marzoli (Tinkoff) finished in third place.

Sporting manager Allan Peiper was satisfied about the team's performance. "We have two top sprinters competing for the first time in a team and they still have to work things out between eachother. In the next few days I'm sure this cooperation will function better and I'm optimistic that it will lead to success”

Back to winning ways Angelo Furlan © Sirotti

The Remaining Stages :

2ème étape (jeudi 8 février) : Nîmes-Saint-Ambroix (149 km)
3ème étape (vendredi 9 février) : Cendras-La Grand Combe (138 km)
4ème étape (samedi 10 février) : Les Fumades-Les Fumades (151 km)
5ème étape (dimanche 11 février) : Gagnières-Bessèges (148 km)


1 A.FURLAN (C.A) 3h20'17"
3 R.MARZOLI m.t.
4 B.COOKE (UNI) m.t.
5 H.DEKKERS (AGR) m.t.
6 M.ELMIGER (A2R) m.t.
7 A.GREIPEL (TMO) m.t.
10 A.SEROV m.t.

Back to winning ways Angelo Furlan © Sirotti

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Grand Prix La Marseillaise, 37th Etoile de Bessèges. Preview
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The Grand Prix La Marseillaise

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