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Hugo Page (Intermarché-Circus-Wanty) won the stage 4 sprint ahead of Paul Magnier (Trinity Racing) on the final day of racing at the Tour du Limousin-Périgord. Luca Mozzato (Arkéa-Samsic) took third.
Romain Grégoire (Groupama-FDJ) finished safely in the peloton to claim the overall title. The GC story was unchanged from Thursday as Grégoire maintained a 38-second margin over second-placed Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën Team) and Michael Storer (Groupama-FDJ) finished third overall, a further 12 seconds back.
The sun came out on the technical 43km to the finish in Limoges, which featured two tough climbs at each pass of the three-and-a-half-lap circuit and signaled an urgent need for the peloton to close the 1:45 gap. four rider breakaway.
Trinity’s Adrien Boichis launched an attack with 10km to go on the day for the final rider, Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies), from an initial break of five. A counter attack by Lorenzo Quartucci (Team Corratec) passed him 3km later. With 5km to go the peloton absorbed this effort and it was full flight for the final 1.8km uphill stretch to the finish, Grégoire in front.
Passing under the 1km-to-go banner, Grégoire accelerated to the front of the peloton, driving for Lewis Askey. His Groupama-FDJ team-mate then dropped back to finish sixth, behind the AG2R Citroën Team duo of Cosnefroy and Clément Venturini who completed the top five.
The result of the day was the first pro win for the 22-year-old Page. Grégoire, two years younger, added the best young rider ranking to his overall title on Friday. With wins in stage 1 and 3, he never relinquished the leader’s jersey for four days.
Cosnefroy added a second fourth place on the final day, along with two podiums. The closest he got to the young compatriot was 19 seconds, with bonus seconds earned by finishing second.
“It wasn’t necessarily planned for me to sprint today, but the race conditions and the nervousness in the final allowed me to find an opening. It shows that the form is really good. Obviously, I’m disappointed not to win, but the work I’ve put in over the last few weeks will continue to pay off,” said Cosnefroy.
The fourth and final stage of the Tour du Limousin is another rolling day with four intermediate sprints in the first 110 of the 170.6km. Tom Mainguenaud (Van Rysel-Roubaix Lille Métropole) had an 11-point lead in the sprint classification, which was not in danger.
The middle of the race, kilometers 60 to 120, is packed in four categorized climbs ranging from category 2 to category 3 variety, just to wear out the legs and give a boost to the KOM classification, Martin Marcellusi (Green Project-Bardiani CSF-Faizané ) with a two-point advantage over Nicolas Debeaumarché (St-Michel-Mavic-Auber 93).
Two riders missed the start, Axel Mariault (Cofidis), who crashed on stage 3, and Michael Schär (AG2R Citroën Team).
After the first sprint contest at Ladignac, 14.5km from where the flag dropped, 15 riders flocked to the front to launch attacks, including one from Benoît Cosnefroy (Team AG2R Citroën). Anthera 8 kilometers down the road, five riders broke away – Marcellusi, Thomas Joseph (Tarteletto-Isorex), Stijn Appel (A Bloc CT), Imanol Erviti (Movistar Team) and Paul Ourselin (TotalEnergies).
In the next intermediate sprint to Saint-Cyr, 49.5 km, the quintet were 2:40 apart.
That margin held at the tops of the first two climbs, the Côte de Saint-Victurnien (2.6km at 4.2%) and the Côte de Peyrelade (2.6km at 4.7%), where Marcellusi marked his lead at KPM. The peloton kept the riders in check and in a repeat performance the same trio of teams controlled the front, Groupama-FDJ, Arkéa-Samsic and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty.
A tougher mid-race climb on the third climb, Côte de Villerajouze (2.7km at 5.8%), was another narrow victory for Marcellusi, and the gap to the peloton began to close, now at 2:05 with less than 73km to go. Bardiani’s mission to secure the KOM was complete and he left the breakaway.
After traversing the final climb, the Côte des Monts (1.1km at 5.3%), the top four descend with their time advantage down to under two minutes and then hit the finishing pistes with 43.1km to go end.
Arkéa-Samsic put the pressure on the front of the peloton during the first full track finish in Limoges, working for Kévin Vauquelin, who was fifth on GC, 1:08 off the lead. The gap to the breakaway was reduced to under a minute as Joseph dropped back and left the trio of Apel, Erviti and Urselin in front.
The gap was down to 33 seconds on the penultimate lap as a mass of riders, led by Arkéa-Samsic, focused on eating up all that time for a fast finish. Grégoire remained protected near the front by Groupama-FDJ. Ourselin picked up the pace at the front of the break and Appel couldn’t stay committed, then Erviti dropped back, leaving the TotalEnergies rider on a solo quest for glory with less than 21km to go. The Frenchman’s effort ended in the first half of the bell lap and the attacks from the peloton took over.
The results are supported by FirstCycling
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