Gaudin and Arashiro give it a go
Despite splits in the peloton and a long break in which the team did not feature, Europcar gave it their all during Paris-Tours. Yukiya Arashiro and Damien Gaudin both went on the offensive – and the latter was rewarded with a 15th place finish over the line.
Gaudin never gave in – even when the odds were stacked against him. Weakened by two splits in the bunch, Team Europcar then missed out on the day's decisive 22-man breakaway. But the Vendée-based team reacted well with back-to-back attempts to reel in the leaders.
First Arashiro had a solo dig – and the Japanese rider was soon caught by a chasing group that included Gaudin. And yet despite their best efforts, the peloton would not allow this group to built up any significant lead.
On the back of an excellent season and showing the kind of strength that he displayed during his second-place ITT ride behind Fabian Cancellara in the Tour of Luxembourg, Gaudin jumped clear once again in pursuit of the leaders.
Gaudin managed to catch the tail end of the leading group to set himself up for a 15th place that seemed scant reward for all the hard work he put in on Sunday.
The winner of the race was the Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) who outsprinted his last opponent – the in-form Italian Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil) – to take the biggest win of his career.
Ismaël Mottier, the Team Europcar directeur sportif, said he only had one regret. "At the moment of the first split, Saïd Haddou and Vincent Jérôme should have been present on the front of the bunch but they found themselves held up by a crash," he said.
"As a result, we only had three guys in play – Yukiya, Damien and Sébastien Chavanel. The boys then tried their best to get into the chasing groups – not necessarily at the right moment, but we wanted to provoke a response and we at least succeeded in doing that."
PARIS-BOURGES - Gautier gives it a go
In last Thursday's Paris-Bourges race, Team Europcar never quite found their feet after what Mottier described as a "difficult day" in the saddle. An early break of 14 riders leapt clear of the bunch – but without any representative from the boys in green. "As a result, we were always on the back foot today, which complicated matters somewhat," said Mottier.
The team's luck worsened when both Giovanni Bernaudeau and Franck Bouyer were involved in a crash: the former required four stitches to his forearm while the latter hurt his backside.
Once the peloton returned to within 35 seconds of the six remaining riders out in front, Cyril Gautier tried to break clear of the bunch only to see his attempt thwarted.
Two crashes marred the final sprint – won by the Australian Matthew Hayman (Sky) – and despite his best efforts, Saïd Haddou could only cross the line just outside the top ten.