Wanty-Groupe Gobert was close to the victory in the fourth stage of Étoile de Bessèges (2.1, 31/01-04/02). Tom Devriendt was the first WGG-rider in the front of the race. Together with 3 other riders he set up a long breakaway. Insatisfied of the pace of his companions, our 26-year-old rider went solo with 20km to go. He fought bravely against the chasing pack, but with four kilometers to go he was caught by the peloton. The bunch sprint was inevitable on the final slope in Laudan l'Ardoise.
An acceleration with 500 metres to go caused a break-up in the peloton. Timothy Dupont passed a rider of Cofidis in front and was going for a stage victory. Unfortunatey he was caught by Sean De Bie in the final 30 meters. Dupont had to be satisfied with second spot. On Sunday the fifth and final stage takes place, a time trial in Ales with finish on Hermitage.
"This is a tough nut to crack. I started my sprint with 300 meters to go and felt that I gapped the others. Unfortunately Sean De Bie was ideally placed in my wheel. He could only pass me in the final meters. If he wasn't on my wheel, I win today. But hey, that is cycling. It was an uphill sprint, but that suits me. I can handle such an explosive effort. "
"Teammate Tom Devriendt was extremely strong today. In the beginning of the stage I was already part of a big breakaway. Then he attacked a few more times and he was caught solo at four kilometers from the line. "
"Tomorrow is a battle against the clock, unfortunately my time-trial skills are not that good, but I will give everything I have. After Bessèges, my competition program consists of the Vuelta Murcia, Clasica Almeria and Volta Algarve. "
Results Stage 4 (Chusclan › Laudun L'ardoise)
1. Sean De Bie
2. Timothy Dupont
3. Rudy Barbier
36. Yoann Offredo
38. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck + 00:12
41. Frederik Backaert
66. Pieter Vanspeybrouck + 00:38
75. Wesley Kreder + 01:09
104. Tom Devriendt + 02:56
GC after Stage 4
1. Marc Sarreau
2. Thomas Boudat
3. Bryan Coquard + 00:10
6. Timothy Dupont
20. Yoann Offredo + 00:20
35. Frederik Backaert + 00:30
55. Pieter Vanspeybrouck + 00:58
58. Wesley Kreder + 01:29
68. Tom Devriendt + 05:27
76. Guillaume Van Keirsbulck + 07:05