Kooij records second stage win and takes final classification in Circuit Cycliste Sarthe due to crash Pedersen

Olav Kooij has won the fourth and final stage in Circuit Cycliste Sarthe. The Dutchman also won a stage earlier this week, but now did it from a sprint-a-deux against Xandro Meurisse. Mads Pedersen saw his overall victory in the last five kilometers slip through his fingers, because the Dane fell. Kooij is therefore also the final winner.

The goal was 173.6 kilometers, but due to the enormous rainfall and difficult conditions, the last stage was shortened to 136.4 kilometers. With three categorized climbs, the center of gravity was in the first half of the stage, which was ‘blasted’ at 11.10am. Five riders took their seats in the early break of the day. Valentin Ferron (TotalEnergies), Jimmy Janssens (Alpecin-Fenix), Rick Pluimers (Jumbo-Visma), Anthony Perez (Cofidis) and Thomas Boudat (Go Sport – Roubaix Lille Métropole) were the brave fighters on duty.

Trek checks, new leading group is created

With Trek-Segafredo leading the pack, the lead of the five leaders never grew more than two minutes. The team of classification leader Mads Pedersen clearly wanted to be warm and so the pace was high. Even before we reached the first climb of the day, the leading group had been caught. It was Clément Carisey (Go Sport – Roubaix Lille Métropole) who took advantage of the situation and immediately countered. The lonely Frenchman did not give up easily and came solo over the second bump of the day. He was eventually joined by Ben Healy (EF) and Nicolas Debeaymarche (St Michel – Auber93). Ferron and Janssens, who were also in the first flight, were also with them.

The new leading group of five never got a big lead, it was too restless in the peloton for that. We saw INEOS’s Luke Plapp on the offensive towards the third and final climb of the day, but he couldn’t get away. Scott Thwaites, Robert Stannard (both Alpecin-Fenix), Lars Boven (Jumbo-Visma) and Ward Vanhoof (Sport Vlaanderen) made the crossing to the front. Suddenly we had nine riders in the lead, with the peloton led by Trek at a good minute. We had only covered sixty kilometers, with all three categorized climbs behind us.

Complete chaos due to crash in final

After 99.2 kilometers the leading group of nine reached the finish line for the first time. It was the start of four local laps of 9.3 kilometers each. The leaders started with a 1.21 minute lead on the peloton. On the local circuit, however, this lead quickly diminished. The tempo was also increased at the front, thus separating the wheat from the chaff. Vanhoof and Carisey were the first to get off the tricky lap, Boven followed not much later. The peloton was not far, however, was it going to be a sprint again?

New! Partly due to Quick Step-Alpha Vinyl, the gap to the six remaining leaders was closed in the final lap, but it was not a classic sprint. Xandro Meurisse (Alpecin-Fenix) and Kooij surprised by pulling away in the last kilometers, partly the result of a massive crash, which also included Pedersen. The two rode into a small gap and despite many counterattacks in the background, it was a sprint-a-deux. Kooij was convincingly the fastest. Because Pedersen fell before the safe last three kilometers, Kooij is also the overall winner.

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Result stage 4 Circuit Cycliste Sarthe 2022