Étoile de Bessèges Stage 2

Connor Swift is 7th on stage 2 of Étoile de Bessèges which was won by Bryan Coquard. Connor is now 5th overall whilst the race lead still sits with Mads Pedersen

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Étoile de Bessèges Stage 2

Connor Swift 7th on stage 2 of Étoile de Bessèges which was won by Bryan Coquard. The French sprinter who races for Cofidis in 2022 was slightly stronger on the final climb to outpace stage 1 winner, Mads Pedersen, who remains the overall leader.

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After yesterday’s spectacular opening stage, won by Mads Pedersen, Etoile de Bessèges continued today with another interesting stage with lots more climbing. The 156 kilometre stage took the peloton from Saint-Christol-lèz-Alès to Rousson, with the Côte de Lasalle (4.3 km at 5.5%) and the Côte du Pradel (6.4 km at 4.5 km) on the way.) Then they rode fast to the foot of the final climb in Rousson (1.6 km at 6.3%), where the finish line sat waiting for the battle to be the best on the stage.

Four riders formed the early break and they were given a little leeway with a lead of four minutes. After twenty kilometres, the early break came to an end and life for the riders became restless in the peloton. Rémy Rochas attacked and Sébastien Reichenbach also opted to go on the attack. Both riders, however, were soon caught.
A compact peloton went into the last kilometres towards Rousson and on that final climb, Pedersen and Coquard proved to have the strongest legs and fought out a fierce duel on the steepest sections of the final slope.

The victory eventually went to the fast Frenchman.

Connor Swift 7th on stage 2 of Étoile de Bessèges – “It was a nice stage, less stressful than yesterday’s in the wind. We were able to recover a little from our efforts of the day before, and in the last fifty kilometres it went faster and faster. The Arkéa-Samsic team did another good job. I had a lot of speed coming into the final climb. I tried to keep it up until the finish line. But it was probably a couple of hundred metres too much for me. In any case I am in good shape and I am happy with my condition at the beginning of the season, which I know will improve. I’m happy with the legs I have right before the classics campaign.”

Bryan Coquard has had to wait a long time for it, but the French sprinter finally managed another victory on Thursday. The rider gave his new team Cofidis a nice victory in the Etoile of Bessèges, by beating race leader Mads Pedersen after a tough final. For 29-year-old Coquard it is his first victory in a year and a half. In 2020, he was the best in the opening stage of La Route d’Occitanie, but since then Coquard had to make do with places on the podium below the top step.

“It was a really difficult finish. I thought I would never pass him (referring toPedersen). He just kept standing on the pedals,” Coquard said in the flash interview after the race. “I am very proud that I can now put my arms in the air again in this new jersey. I hope this is the start of a good start for the team.” Coquard, who started his season with a sixth place in the GP La Marseillaise, will focus after Bessèges on the Volta ao Algarve, the Flemish opening weekend and Paris-Nice. He will also participate in most (cobblestone) classes in the spring.

1. Bryan Coquard Cofidis 03:41:46
2. Mads Pedersen Trek-Segafredo
3. Tobias Halland Johannessen Uno-X Pro Cycling Team
4. Mathieu Burgaudeau TotalEnergies
5. Alberto Bettiol EF Education-EasyPost @ 04
6. Benjamin Thomas Cofidis @ 06
7. Connor Swift Team Arkéa-Samsic @ 06
8. Milan Menten Bingoal Pauwels Sauces WB @ 06
9. Clément Champoussin AG2R Citroën Team @ 06
10. Pierre Latour TotalEnergies @ 06

84. Owain Doull
92. Ben Tulett
138. Christopher Lawless

Result of the stage is here



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