Marc Sarreau (AG2R Citroën) won the bunch sprint to win stage 1 of Poitou-Charentes en Nouvelle-Aquitaine on Wednesday. Edward Theuns (Trek-Segafredo) followed in second a bike length back.
Lorrenzo Manzin (TotalEnergies) moved from fourth to third place after a close finish with Paul Penhoët of Groupama-FDJ, who was relegated by race officials to 101st position after the race. The bunch sprint was a mass of swerving bikes on the narrow finishing lane, but there was no reason provided at press time for moving Penhoët from his initial third-place position.
The victory on the 193.1km opening stage by Sarraeu marked the 500th career victory for the French team. He takes the first leader’s jersey for the four-day race that features four road stages and one time trial.
“I am very happy. The team did a tremendous job. We knew from Oliver [Naesen] that it was necessary to be well placed at the point of the last roundabout but that the most important thing was the launching. He dropped me off at 250m and I was able to keep all my speed; it was perfect,” Sarreau said.
“It’s been two years that I’ve had a succession of difficulties. It’s frustrating for me and for the team. So, I’m happy to be back on the path to victory but I hope it’s only the start of a good period. There are still several opportunities to win this week so we will try to continue in this direction and defend the leader’s jersey.”
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