Tour du Poitou-Charentes24/08/2011 - 14:51 - Updated 24/08/2011 - 15:21
Chavanel takes second as Gaudin shines
Sébastien Chavanel finished second in the bunch sprint of the opening stage of the Tour du Poitou Charentes, while Europcar team-mate Damien Gaudin was involved in the day's decisive break - and took the points jersey for his efforts.
On the same day that his brother Sylvain took the leader's red jersey in the Vuelta a Espana, Sébastien Chavanel came close to his first professional victory since the 2008 Tour of Picardie.
The 30-year-old was beaten by Italian youngster Davide Appollonio (Team Sky) in the bunch sprint at the end of stage one of the Tour du Poitou Charentes in Cognac after an interesting opening day for Team Europcar.
Damien Gaudin, the rangy 24-year-old Track specialist, was part of a nine-man breakaway which formed before the 20km mark of the 183km stage. The group built up a lead of just over a minute before being reeled in at the 83km mark.
Unperturbed, Gaudin had another go, counter-attacking with two other riders to form a trio that gained a maximum gap of 3:30 before being swept up by the combined efforts of Team Sky just over 10km from the finish. Gaudin's aggressive riding did not go unrewarded: the Frenchman picked up maximum points in two of the three intermediate sprints on offer to do enough to take the yellow jersey as the race's best sprinter.
The Tour du Poitou, which runs for four days and finishes this Friday, sees the competitive return of Europcar's Thomas Voeckler, who is riding his first professional race since finishing fourth in July's Tour de France.