Daniele Bennati takes stage 1 in Circuit Sarthe

06.04.2011: Daniele Bennati won the opening stage of the Circuit Sarthe ahead of Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis and Nacer Bouhanny of Française des Jeux. After LEOPARD TREK managed multiple break attempts over 191 kilometres, it was gruppo compatto on the final lap of th

Daniele Bennati won the opening stage of the Circuit Sarthe ahead of Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis and Nacer Bouhanny of Française des Jeux. After LEOPARD TREK managed multiple break attempts over 191 kilometres, it was gruppo compatto on the final lap of the finishing circuit in Saint-Mars-la-Jaille.

With sprinter Bennati demonstrating good condition, the team knew he would be their man in the bunch sprint. And Bennati did not disappoint. Crossing the line ahead of the sprinting bunch, Bennati secured his first victory of the season.

“Our goal was to win with Daniele today,” Sports Director Luca Guercilena says. “We decided to control the race from the start. We pulled back an early breakaway. After the first break was caught, the peloton started to ride really fast. There were lots of attacks. The team responded as needed. They rode really well today.” Bennati agrees. “I’m proud of the team. They worked really hard for the entire 191 kilometres.”

The stage, which began in Le Château d’Olonne, concluded with four laps over a 6.8 kilometres circuit. As the race entered the circuit, Jonathan Thira (Auber 93) remained alone out front. “We managed this break easily,” noted Guercilena. “Oliver Zaugg, Martin Pedersen and Thomas Rohregger kept the pace high as they took pulls on the front. We closed the gap about 10K before the finish.”

Heading into the final meters, Will Clarke and Davide Viganò drove the sprint for Bennati. “It was a true team effort,” Guercilena says. “Everything has gone according to plan. We are very happy.”

“With Davide pulling the sprint for me, I was third wheel in the last corner, 300 meters from the finish,” Bennati added. “When Davide moved to the side with 220 meters to go, I jumped. No one could follow me. It’s good to win like that. I give a big thanks to my team for this victory.”

Circuit Cycliste Sarthe continues with two stages on Wednesday. A 99.8 km road stage in the morning will be followed up with a 6.8 km time trial in the afternoon. “Tomorrow morning, we will attempt to control the race and see what happens there,” says Guercilena. “Then, we’ll see what happens with the time trial in the afternoon. After this, we will know if we can still go for overall or if we will focus on stage wins.” The four-day stage race concludes with two longer road stages on Thursday and Friday.

Beyond Circuit Sarthe, Bennati has his eyes on bigger goals on the horizon. “This win gives more importance to the second place I did last weekend in Wevelgem,” Bennati notes. “With the Giro d’Italia coming in three weeks, this is a nice point to start."
  LEOPARD TREK 2011 | www.leopardtrek.lu

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06.04.2011 / MaP

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