Frederik Backaert was very close to victory in Tro Bro Leon (17/04 - 1.1), his favorite race. Frenchman Damien Gaudin was faster than Backaert in a two men sprint in Lannilis. A second place for Backaert after an offensive ride on the unpaved sections in Brittany (France). Guillaume Levarlet protected Backaert's move and finished 14th in the chasing group. Reaction of Backaert and sports director Steven De Neef after a thrilling race.
"What a pity! Gaudin was perhaps slightly fresher in the end. Tactically I did a perfect race. I was attentive when the strongest man in the race went into the offensive. I've been riding in front of the pack all day and have been spared from bad luck. With 50 kilometers to go I tried with a rider of Manzana Postobon, but he was not the right companion. "
"When Gaudin moved I immediately saw that he was in excellent shape. I went along with Gaëtan Bille to chase. Bille couldn't follow, but Gaudin was a perfect companion. We are two riders with the same offensive attitude. Maybe I should have waited a little longer in the sprint, but I felt very quickly that Gaudin was the strongest. A missed opportunity! The piglet for the winner would fit nicely into our farm at home. "
Steven De Neef (sports director):
"Of course we are disappointed with this second place. But we can't complain. Backaert delivered a strong performance. If he stays in the pack he can't win. FDJ rode for a sprint with Arnaud Demare. This was the only way he could win today. Tactically he rode perfect. He was in front at the right time. We can not blame him. "
"Strong work also of our team with Mark McNally and Kenny Dehaes represented in an early break. Robin Stenuit unfortunately crashed and is heavily burned. Kevin Van Melsen has some after-effects of a crash in the Sarthe. Simone Antonini had a flat tire at a bad time in the race and thus missed the right train. Guillaume Levarlet rode a strong race to protect Backaert's move and finished 14th in the chasing group. "
1. Damien Gaudin
2. Frederik Backaert
3. Benjamin Giraud
14. Guillaume Levarlet
57. Kenny Dehaes