Team CSC took the first two places in the GP d’Ouverture, with Nicki Sorensen taking the win after t
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM (click for larger version) With racing already under way in Australia, the Far East and in Qatar, Europe became the latest of the International Cycling Union’s new continental circuits to lift off with Tuesday’s GP d’Ouverture, inland from Marseille. Like they did last year, Team CSC were quickly in the winning enclosure as Nicki Sorensen led home team-mate Vladimir Goussev. “It was a great day for us. To open the season in this way is something every team dreams about,” said CSC sports director Kim Andersen. “We were dominant from the beginning with Jens Voigt being his usual aggressive self, and for a long time it looked as if the break he was in would last all the way home. But all of a sudden Jens got a stomach cramp with only nine kilometres to go, so we attacked on one of the climbs with Nicki Sorensen, Goussev and Brian Vandborg in the group behind, and together they managed to bridge up. “The finish was a fairly hectic affair, where several riders were led the wrong way – Nicki and Goussev were among them. But it was sorted in the end and five riders came together in a small group. Vandborg closed the gap, when there was an attack during the final kilometre, and then it was all up to Nicki and Goussev to decide the race between them,” explained Andersen. Sorensen admitted that there was some luck in his victory. “It was quite a confusing finish, and it all got a bit hectic. There were two riders, who attacked shortly before the end, and they would’ve probably made it if they hadn’t taken a wrong turn,” said the Dane. One of those caught out was emerging La Francaise des Jeux talent Philippe Gilbert, who attacked late on with fellow Belgian Win van Huffel. With four kilometres to go and with a significant lead of 47 seconds on the chasers, the two Belgians were sent off course by a marshal. “We went left when we should have gone right,” Gilbert told La Dernire Heure. “By the time we realised we had ridden about a kilometre and although we turned back we lost three or four minutes and found ourselves behind our former pursuers.” A naturally disappointed Gilbert felt that he would have won the sprint easily – “by 10 metres at least” – but at least had the consolation of knowing he is among the most on-form of riders at the moment. He will be hoping for better in the Etoile de Bessges, which starts today. GP d’Ouverture result 1 Nicki Sorensen (Den) CSC 128km in 3.20.40 (38.27kph) 2 Vladimir Goussev (Rus) CSC 3 Daniele Masolino (Ita) LPR 4 Sbastien Joly (Fra) Crdit Agricole 5 Sandy Casar (Fra) La Franaise des Jeux 6 Eddy Seigneur (Fra) RAGT 7 Stphane Goubert (Fra) Ag2r 8 Ludovic Martin (Fra) RAGT 9 Julien Mazet (Fra) Auber 93 10 Jrmy Roy (Fra) La Franaise des Jeux 18 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) La Franaise des Jeux 0.10 – Wednesday’s sixth stage of the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia was won by Panaria sprinter Ruben Bongiorno. It was the Argentinian’s second win of the race and took him level with team-mate Graeme Brown on stage successes. The pair have now finished 1-2 in all four bunch finishes. The lead was kept by stage two winner Koji Fukushima of the Bridgestone team. The Japanese became only the second Asian rider to win a stage in the 10-year history of Langkawi last weekend. He leads time trial winner Nathan O’Neill by 1-20, with procycling columnist Tom Danielson (Discovery Channel) eighth at 2-02 and Britain’s Tom Southam (Barloworld) in 10th place at 2-14.