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39th Etoile des Bessèges - Stage 1
By Andy McGrath
Date: 2/4/2009
39th Etoile des Bessèges - Stage 1

Jimmy Casper has won the first stage of the 2009 Etoile des Bessèges, covering 150 kilometres from Bellegarde to Le Grau-du-Roi. The experienced sprinter - a stage winner in the Tour de France - outgunned Sébastien Chavanel (Francaise des Jeux) and Klaas Lodewyck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator) in a group finish to take his first win of the year. What's more, it is also the first ever victory for newly-formed French squad Besson Chaussures - Sojasun.

The opening stage was marked by a long escape from three riders: Jef Peeters (AN Post-Sean Kelly Cycling Team), Jonathan Thiré (Auber 93) and Tom Stubbe (Silence-Lotto). However, the predominantly-flat parcours and good cohesion in the chasing peloton worked against them. Consequently, they were reeled in 25 kilometres from the finish in Le Grau-du-Roi.

39th Etoile des Bessèges: Stage 1, Bellegarde - Le Grau-du-Roi, 128 kilometres, Top 30
1. Jimmy Casper (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun, Fra) 2h 52m 21s
2. Sébastien Chavanel (Francaise des Jeux, Fra)
3. Klaas Lodewyck (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Bel)
4. Denis Flahaut (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Fra)
5. Romain Feillu (Agritubel, Fra)
6. Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team, Slo)
7. William Bonnet (BBox-Bouygues Telecom, Fra)
8. Stefan Van Dijk (Veranda Willems, Ned)
9. Daniele Colli (Carmiooro - A-Style, Ita)
10. Niko Eeckhout (AN Post-Sean Kelly Cycling Team, Bel)
11. Greg van Avermaet (Silence-Lotto, Bel)
12. Geert Steurs (Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator, Bel)
13. Stéphane Bonsergent (Bretagne-Schuller, Fra)
14. Jonathan Hivert (Skil-Shimano, Fra)
15. Bert De Backer (Skil-Shimano, Ned)
16. Fabien Bacquet (Auber 93, Fra)
17. Jean-Luc Delpech (Bretagne-Schuller, Fra)
18. Hervé Duclos-Lasalle (Cofidis, Fra)
19. Florian Vachon (Roubaix-Lille Métropole, Fra)
20. Said Haddou (BBox-Bouygues Telecom, Fra)
21. James Vanlandschoot (Veranda Willems, Bel)
22. Gil Suray (Roubaix-Lille Métropole, Bel)
23. Anthony Ravard (Agritubel, Fra)
24. Nadir Haddou (Auber 93, Fra)
25. David Boucher (Landbouwkrediet-Colnago, Fra)
26. Reinier Honig (Vacansoleil Pro Cycling Team, Ned)
27. Damien Monier (Cofidis, Fra)
28. Jimmy Engoulvent (Besson Chaussures-Sojasun, Fra)
29. Kenny Lisabeth (AN Post-Sean Kelly Cycling Team, Bel)
30. Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano, Ned) all same time

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