January 31, 2021
Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise 2021 – Marseille – Marseille : 171,6 km
Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise, formerly known as the Grand Prix d’Ouverture La Marseillaise,
January 31, 2021
Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise 2021 – Marseille – Marseille : 171,6 km
Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise, formerly known as the Grand Prix d’Ouverture La Marseillaise, is a single-day road bicycle race held annually in February around the city of Marseille, France. Since 2005, the race is organized as a 1.1 event on the UCI Europe Tour. It is usually the first race of the European calendar, one day before the stage-race Étoile de Bessèges, which is held in the same region
Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën) sprang a surprise to win the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise after he edged out Thomas Boudat (Arkea-Samsic) and Bryan Coquard (B&B Hotels p/b KTM) in a small group sprint in Marseille.
It was Paret-Peintre’s first victory as a professional and it was all the more remarkable given that he had spent time off the front of the race after the Route des Crêtes in the finale.
Then again, there was little respite for anyone in the breathless final kilometres after the stiff climb of the Route des Crêtes had whittled the peloton down to its bare bones. A reduced front group continually splintered and reformed in the last 20 kilometres, which brought the race over the Col de la Gineste.
Coquard’s B&B Hotels teammates and the UAE Team Emirates squad of Matteo Trentin tried to impose some order on affairs in the final hour, and their efforts eventually helped to ensure front group of 30 or so riders contested the sprint.
Trentin seemed on obvious contender, but the Italian faded to seventh after opening his sprint from a distance. Coquard looked a likely winner when he hit the front within sight of the line, but the Frenchman was pipped at the last by Paret-Peintre and Boudat.
Although Paret-Peintre raised a hesitant arm in celebration after crossing the line, he had to endure a short wait while the commissaires reviewed the photo finish before they eventually awarded him the win.
A professional since 2018, Paret-Peintre is better known for his climbing ability than his sprint, and he placed 16th overall at last October’s Giro d’Italia, which was his Grand Tour debut.
“I didn’t believe too much for the sprint, but with the headwind, it was really a special one and I know I have a bit of a turn of speed,” said Paret-Peintre. “I went at the last moment. We did a super race as a team. We wanted to start the season well, especially because we don’t know what the next few weeks will be like.
How it unfolded
While races across the globe, from Australia to Argentina, from Rwanda to Spain, have been postponed or cancelled in the opening weeks of the season due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the early-season calendar in France remains intact for the time being.
Traditionally a curtain-raiser for the French season, the significance of the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise was thus heightened in 2021. Although last weekend’s Clàssica Comunitat Valenciana 1969 was the first race in Europe this season, the Grand Prix Cycliste La Marseillaise was the first event in 2021 to feature WorldTour teams, with AG2R Citroën, Groupama-FDJ, Cofidis, UAE Team Emirates, EF Education-Nippo, Lotto Soudal and Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux all starting their campaigns here.
Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert were doing battle for the cyclo-cross world title on the wind-lashed North Sea coast on Sunday afternoon, but conditions were altogether more temperate on the Mediterranean, with the peloton flagged away beneath azure skies and in double-digit temperatures.
The day’s early break took shape shortly after the race left Marseille, with Eliot Lietaer (B&B Hotels), Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen), Morne van Niekerk (Auber93), Jon Barrenetxa (Caja Rural), Kenny Molly (Wallonie Bruxelles) and Vojtec Repa (Kern Pharma) forging their way clear.
This sextet built an advantage of five minutes in the rolling hills behind Marseille, where UAE Team Emirates, Lotto Soudal and Total-Direct Energie seemed content to control the peloton. The break’s buffer began to dwindle after they climbed the Pas de la Couelle and the Col d’Espigoulier, and the gap was barely a minute as they reached the final 50 kilometres.
From there, the pace began to ratchet upwards in the peloton on the run-in to the coastal town of La Ciotat and the pivotal climb of the Route des Crêtes above it. Aleksandr Vlasov (Astana) announced his arrival on this short but sharp ascent at the Tour de la Provence last February, and there was no shortage of aggression here, with Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal) and Simon Carr (EF Education-Nippo) forcing their way clear.
Nearing the summit, Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) unleashed an acceleration that took him past the leaders, though Carr gamely battled his way back to the Belgian before they reached the top.
The peloton, meanwhile, was reduced in size, but always within touching distance. After Wellens and Carr were brought to heel, Lilian Calmejane (AG2R Citroën), Anthony Turgis (Total-Direct Energie) and Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) slipped away on the descent.
When they were reined in, Paret-Peintre made a spirited lone effort, which helped ensure there would be no respite for those behind.
From there on in, the action was breathless, with the 30-strong leading group constantly fragmenting and reforming. No one team was strong enough to control matters, but no one rider had the wherewithal to make an attack stick.
The approach to the final ascent, the Gineste, saw the impressive neophytes Carr and Kron again on the offensive, this time with Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux) and Benjamin Thomas (Groupama-FDJ). Trentin, meanwhile, was occasionally forced to close down some sizeable gaps under his own steam, and he would pay for those efforts in the final reckoning.
Carr, Kron et al were reeled in over the top of the Gineste with 10km remaining, and UAE Team Emirates and B&B Hotels tried to impose order on the approach to the finish, though there were further late efforts from Kron and Calmejane before the eventual group sprint.
Coquard looked well placed to emerge victorious, but it was Paret-Peintre who hit the line in the shadow of Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome.
1 Aurelien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team 4:24:29
2 Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Arkea – Samsic
3 Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
4 Francisco Galvan Fernandez (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
5 Arjen Livyns (Bel) Bingoal WB
6 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
7 Matteo Trentin (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
8 Lilian Calmejane (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
9 Julien El Fares (Fra) EF Education – Nippo
10 Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
11 Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Arkea – Samsic
12 Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
13 Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
14 Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama – FDJ
15 Jeremy Bellicaud (Fra) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
16 Jesus Herrada (Spa) Cofidis
17 Ryan Gibbons (RSA) UAE Team Emirates
18 Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
19 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Total Direct Energie
20 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Total Direct Energie
21 Rein Taaramae (Est) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
22 Ruben Fernandez (Spa) Cofidis
23 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea – Samsic
24 Simon Carr (GBr) EF Education – Nippo
25 Amaury Capiot (Bel) Team Arkea – Samsic
26 Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
27 Alessandro Covi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates 0:00:13
28 Jonathan Hivert (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
29 Andreas Kron (Den) Lotto Soudal 0:00:15
30 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R Citroen Team 0:00:18
31 Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:00:20
32 Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM 0:00:25
33 Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux 0:03:22
34 Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
35 John Degenkolb (Ger) Lotto Soudal
36 Thimo Willems (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
37 Fabio Van Den Bossche (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
38 Kenneth Van Rooy (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
39 Rui Oliveira (Por) UAE Team Emirates
40 Julien Trarieux (Fra) Delko
41 Jordi Lopez Caravaca (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma 0:03:25
42 Kevin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea – Samsic
43 Stefano Oldani (Ita) Lotto Soudal
44 Joel Nicolau Beltran (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
45 Raul Garcia Pierna (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
46 Mauro Finetto (Ita) Delko
47 August Jensen (Nor) Delko
48 Remy Rochas (Fra) Cofidis
49 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Lotto Soudal
50 Milan Menten (Bel) Bingoal WB 0:04:32
51 Brent Van Moer (Bel) Lotto Soudal
52 Rune Herregodts (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
53 Lindsay De Vylder (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
54 Flavien Maurelet (Fra) St Michel – Auber 93
55 Vojtech Repa (Cze) Equipo Kern Pharma
56 Maurits Lammertink (Ned) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
57 Diego Rosa (Ita) Team Arkea – Samsic
58 Aritz Bagues Kalparsoro (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
59 Stefan Bissegger (Swi) EF Education – Nippo
60 Kenny Molly (Bel) Bingoal WB
61 Nicolas Prodhomme (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
62 Thibault Ferasse (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
63 Pierre Latour (Fra) Total Direct Energie
64 Vegard Stake Laengen (Nor) UAE Team Emirates
65 Mathijs Paasschens (Ned) Bingoal WB
66 Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel – Auber 93 0:09:03
67 Louis Louvet (Fra) St Michel – Auber 93
68 Alexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama – FDJ
69 Jon Barrenetxea Golzarri (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
70 Lukasz Owsian (Pol) Team Arkea – Samsic
71 Josu Etxeberria Azpilikueta (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
72 David Gonzalez Lopez (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
73 Sergio Roman Martin Galan (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
74 Ivan Centrone (Lux) Xelliss – Roubaix Lille Metropole
75 Jeremy Leveau (Fra) Xelliss – Roubaix Lille Metropole
76 Maxime Urruty (Fra) Xelliss – Roubaix Lille Metropole
77 Marti Marquez Roman (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
78 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
79 Ibon Ruiz Sedano (Spa) Equipo Kern Pharma
80 Aleksandr Riabushenko (Blr) UAE Team Emirates
81 Julius Van Den Berg (Ned) EF Education – Nippo
82 Adrien Guillonnet (Fra) St Michel – Auber 93
83 Danny Van Der Tuuk (Ned) Equipo Kern Pharma
84 Sebastian Langeveld (Ned) EF Education – Nippo
85 Romain Seigle (Fra) Groupama – FDJ 0:13:59
86 Baptiste Bleier (Fra) St Michel – Auber 93 0:15:37
87 Alessandro Fedeli (Ita) Delko
88 Fabian Lienhard (Swi) Groupama – FDJ 0:15:56
89 Lars Van Den Berg (Ned) Groupama – FDJ
90 Tom Devriendt (Bel) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
91 Theo Delacroix (Fra) Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert Matériaux
92 Julien Duval (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
93 Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie
94 Julien Antomarchi (Fra) Xelliss – Roubaix Lille Metropole
95 Dylan Kowalski (Fra) Xelliss – Roubaix Lille Metropole
96 Laurens Huys (Bel) Bingoal WB
97 Eliot Lietaer (Bel) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
98 Tom Bohli (Swi) Cofidis
99 Dimitri Peyskens (Bel) Bingoal WB
100 Luc Wirtgen (Lux) Bingoal WB
101 Evaldas Siskevicius (Ltu) Delko
102 Jake Stewart (GBr) Groupama – FDJ
103 William Bonnet (Fra) Groupama – FDJ
104 Gerben Thijssen (Bel) Lotto Soudal 0:16:46
105 Jens Reynders (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
106 Oliviero Troia (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
107 Tom Scully (NZl) EF Education – Nippo
108 Christopher Lawless (GBr) Total Direct Energie
109 Morne Van Niekerk (RSA) St Michel – Auber 93
110 Jordan Levasseur (Fra) Xelliss – Roubaix Lille Metropole
OTL Tony Hurel (Fra) St Michel – Auber 93
OTL Francois Bidard (Fra) AG2R Citroen Team
OTL Sasha Weemaes (Bel) Sport Vlaanderen – Baloise
OTL Lucas De Rossi (Fra) Delko
DNF Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Delko
DNF Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNF Julen Amezqueta Moreno (Spa) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
DNF Mathias De Witte (Bel) Xelliss – Roubaix Lille Metropole
DNS Jonas Rutsch (Ger) EF Education – Nippo