1/29/2013 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
GRAN PRIX CYCLISTE LA MARSELLAISE - 27 January
Winner: Justin Jules (Fra) La Pomme Marseille
Elite men: Marseille 148.1km
Justin Jules fastest in first Euro sprint finish
La Pomme Marseille Frenchman beats Dumoulin and Damuseau
Justin Jules (La Pomme Marseille) sprinted to victory in the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, the first road race on European soil for the 2013 season. The 26-year-old Frenchman denied Samuel Dumoulin, making his debut for AG2R La Mondiale, a repeat victory in Marseille, while Thomas Damuseau (Team Argos-Shimano) rounded out the podium in third place.
The 148.1km European opener was dominated by an early two man escape comprised of Thomas Vaubourzeix (La Pomme Marseille) and Jelle Wallays (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise). The duo's advantage grew to more than seven minutes after 43km of racing, but Dumoulin's AG2R squad kept the break from becoming a runaway and gradually reduced the pair's lead.
Wallays led Vaubourzeix over each of the day's three categorised climbs to claim the mountains prize and when they reached the summit of the final ascent, the Julhan Les Bastides at 30km remaining, their lead had dropped inside of one minute with riders using the ascent as a springboard to cross the gap to the leaders.
Cédric Pineau (FDJ) and Benjamin Giraud (La Pomme Marseille) managed to make the junction and with 23km to the finish the front quartet led the peloton by 30 seconds.
Inside of 15km to go the break was neutralised, but the chase effort split the peloton. Sander Armee (Topsport Vlaanderen-Baloise) then went out on the attack alone and with 7km to the finish he led a 20-man chase group by 20 seconds and the peloton by 55 seconds.
The Belgian's bid for victory came to naught, however, as the hard-charging peloton swept up first the chase group and then Armee with 3km to go, setting the stage for a field sprint finale.
NOTE: Race winner Justin Jules is the son of French professional Pascal Jules, a stage winner at the 1984 Tour de France and teammate of Laurent Fignon. Pascal Jules died in a car crash in 1987 when Justin was only 13 months old. Justin's life was again touched by tragedy as he served a prison term for killing his stepfather in 2004, receiving a reduced sentence due to the circumstances of a family life disrupted by his stepfather's alcoholism.
Jules turned professional in 2011 at the age of 24 with French Continental team La Pomme Marseille, moved to French Continental squad Véranda Rideau-Super U for 2012 and then returned to La Pomme Marseille this season. His victory today is his second, and biggest, as a professional, with his first win earned at the opening stage of the Tour of Hainan during his debut professional season.
Photo credit © AFP