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The BMC Racing Team pushed the pace in the final kilometers. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
The BMC Racing Team pushed the pace in the final kilometers. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Tour Méditerranéen, Stage 1: First Objective Complete

13. February 2014

The BMC Racing Team finished seven of its eight riders in the lead group on Thursday's opening stage of Tour Méditerranéen, completing the team's first objective, Sport Director Yvon Ledanois said.

The Stage:
Departing from Argelès-sur-Mer, the race traveled over two categorized climbs in 223.5 kilometers, finishing in Montagnac.

The Day's Breakaway:
Four riders – Julien Bérard (Ag2r La Mondiale), Pierre Gouault (BigMat-Auber 93), Vegard Stake Laengen (Bretagne-Séché Environnement), Juan Pablo Valencia (Colombia) – gained more than eight minutes' advantage on the peloton before being brought back.

The Late Escape
After the peloton regrouped, Christophe Premont (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) soloed away inside of 15 km to go. But the chasing efforts of several squads – including the BMC Racing Team – brought him back within sight of the final kilometer.

The Podium:
John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano) took the bunch sprint win ahead of Danilo Napolitano (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF).

Best For The BMC Racing Team:
Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd finished 15th, in the same time as the stage winner. Teammates Taylor Phinney (24th), Steve Cummings (25th), Ben Hermans (26th), Larry Warbasse (49th), Yannick Eijssen (76th) and Amaël Moinard (77th) also finished in the lead pack.

What Thor Hushovd Said:
"The whole team rode really well today. We always stayed together in the front in the important parts in the crosswind. The boys were working well in the final. There was one guy (Premont) who had quite a big gap there, but we brought him back. We also tried in the crosswind with eight kilometers to go to split the bunch a little bit, but we missed some power to go all the way. Taylor did a good lead-out for me. I think we just ended up too early in the front. He had to pull for one-and-a-half kilometers, I think. I still miss the speed, but I'm there. I've done a big step since Dubai, so I am happy."

What Sport Director Yvon Ledanois Said:
"The first objective for this stage was the time for the GC (general classification). A bonus would have been a victory for the stage with Taylor Phinney or Thor Hushovd. We think we have a shot with the GC with Steve Cummings. Today, we were all together in the front of the race. That was more important for tomorrow. We have confidence in them for tomorrow."

Looking Ahead:
Friday's stage is an undulating, 170.6-km stage from Cadolive  to Rousset with three categorized climbs.

More Coverage:
View photos from the race in the BMC Racing Team Flickr gallery.

Listen to interviews with Hushovd and Ledanois on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line.