Elia Viviani (Team Sky) sprinted to the victory at today’s difficult UCI World Tour, GP Plouay. Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) finished in 2nd place with 3rd going to Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida).
It was a long tough day at the GP Plouay but Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka was part of the action over the entire 241 km route. First up, Natnael Berhane made it into the 7-riders break of the day for our African Team. The break was able to gain a lead of just over seven minutes before the main bunch started to reel them in.
As the short sharp climbs started to come more regularly, the distance of the event also started to take its toll on the riders. With still 60 km to go, Berhane was brought back into the fold and this saw our South African, Jay Thomson, come to the head of the race to chase down the remaining riders up the road. As the peloton was whittled down under the pressure from Thomson and the Orica-Scott team, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Nathan Haas and Kristian Sbaragli showed a strong presence at the front of the peloton.
With 26 km to go, there was now a break of eight riders up the road by just less than a minute and so Haas took it upon himself to light up the racing with a strong attack. The injection of pace cracked the peloton and brought the break into sight. A few other riders tried counter moves and Haas followed them all. Eventually, the break fragmented before Haas and a few others got a gap on the peloton to form a new lead group of 8 riders, with 16 km to go.
Haas and his fellow attackers were able to get the gap up to 30 seconds with four kilometers remaining but UAE Emirates and Team Sky were committed to the chase. It all came back together in the final kilometer for a bunch kick and Boasson Hagen and Sbaragli were in the mix to launch for the line. Viviani was the fastest on the day though, taking a strong win while Boasson Hagen was seventh on the line for us, Sbaragli in 14th.
JP Heynderickx – Sport Director
The team rode a good race today. We were always trying to stay ahead of the game with Natnael in the break and then Haas being quite aggressive in the finale. It was a tough race and these longer distances always make for a different kind of sprint. We ended with a top 10 result, no more than that but we can be happy with the team’s performance today.