Bretagne Classic-Ouest France: Benoît Cosnefroy outsprints Julian Alaphilippe for career-topping win
Cosnefroy kicks past Alaphilippe after being outnumbered by Deceuninck-Quick-Step riders in escape group.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Benoît Cosnefroy (Ag2r-Citroën) kicked past Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) to win the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France on Sunday.
Cosnefroy had attacked out of the bunch with Alaphilippe and his Deceuninck-Quick-Step teammate Mikkel Honoré at 65km. The 25-year-old held strong under the pressure as the Quick-Step duo worked their numerical advantage through the final before outsprinting Alaphilippe for the biggest victory of his career to date.
Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) had also been in the attack group with Cosnefroy, but was dropped at 45km to go in what was his first race since winning bronze at the Olympic Games.
Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty) and Alessandro de Marchi (Israel-Start-Up Nation) were early attackers in the WorldTour classic. The duo dropped breakaway partners Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r-Citroën) and Sébastien Grignard (Lotto Soudal) around midway trough the 251km trek through northern France and held a two-minute gap over the bunch, which was patrolled by Deceuninck-Quick-Step.
Alaphilippe made the selection in the peloton on a gravel climb at 65km to go. Pogačar was one of the first to respond along with Honoré and Cosnefroy but soon looked to be struggling and lost the wheels in a grinding uphill at 45km remaining.
Alaphilippe, Cosnefroy and Honoré rode clear, caught and dropped remaining breakaway rider Di Marchi, and nursed a delicate 45-second lead as the peloton made a desperate chase behind.
The trio’s chances were boosted when a flurry of attacks and counters in the bunch saw the chase begin to stutter and Deceuninck-Quick-Step marked out the threats.
Alaphilippe piled the pressure onto Cosnefroy in the final 15km as his young Quick-Step teammate Honoré appeared to be fading. Despite being outnumbered, the 25-year-old Cosnefroy held his nerve and went into the final 3km locked into the Quick-Step duo as they nursed a slim gap over the peloton.
Honoré lead out the sprint for his world champion teammate and Alaphilippe and Consefroy both peeled off the wheel together. The pair went elbow to elbow in a long dragging sprint, but Alaphilippe sat up early in the grinding uphill kick as Consnefroy edged clear to score his first WorldTour win.
Results will be available once stage has completed.