Hivert claims French road opener

Jonathan Hivert (Saur Sojasun) wins the French season kickoff, the GP La Marseillaise.

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Jonathan Hivert (Saur Sojasun) wins the French opener. Photo: AFP

A French rider won the opening day of the French racing calendar Sunday in Marseille.

Jonathan Hivert delivered his rising Saur Sojasun squad a perfect season opener after kicking to victory in the 139.5km GP La Marseillaise in southern France.

Hivert finished ahead of Dutchman Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) and French rider Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis).

Julien El Farès (Cofidis), Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil) and Jussi Weikkanen (Française des Jeux) had an early go, breaking away just 10km into the 139.7km race.

El Farès was first to crack, but collected the mountains classification for his pains.

At the foot of the Gineste at 122km, Remy Di Gregorio took a dig, followed by Brice Feillu, Hoogerland and Hivert. They overhauled Westra and Weikkanen, but a second chase group closed in shortly thereafter, and the race ended with a mass dash to the finish.

French racing continues this week with the Etoile des Bessèges, which opens Tuesday with defending champion Thomas Voeckler lining up for Bouygues Telecom.

The race will also feature Team Sky in its first European stage race. American/Portuguese rider Jaoa Correia will line up for Cervélo TestTeam.


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