PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM In something of a revenge for not being allowed to race with his sponsor’s name showing, Britain’s Jeremy Hunt (Unibet.com) has won the GP d’Ouverture La Marseillaise. Hunt beat Russian Mikhail Ignatiev (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Belgian Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) in a two man sprint at the end of the 126 km race between Gardanne and Marseille-Luminy, traditionally the first race of the French season. “I’m very satisfied with this great win for the team”, said Hunt. “Laurens ten Dam and I rode a perfect race. It was very hard, but I had enough left to easily beat Ignatiev in the sprint.” Team manager Koen Terryn was delighted with the result. “This is an excellent victory,” he told Sporza radio. “Our riders did not understand the whole business with the French authorities. They just wanted to do their jobs as sportsmen. But it definitely motivated them. They were annoyed and wanted to make something of it. “Looking at the problems we’ve had in the last few weeks in France, then this is definitely the best exposure that Unibet could have hoped for.” The Unibet team members weren’t allowed to show their full logos because of French legislation preventing non-state approved gambling. “Fortunately we brought alternative outfits with us that had the sponsor’s logo with a big question mark on it,” said director Jacques Hanegraaf. “Our team cars only had ;uni’ on them instead of ‘unibet.com’, the rest was perfectly covered with tape. Our team is being discriminated against!” The race was decided relatively early, when 16 riders from 12 different teams got away. With such a large team representation, the peloton let them go. Hunt and Ignatiev escaped together with Michiel Elijzen on one of the climbs, and managed to drop their Dutch companion. Behind, Unibet’s Laurens ten Dam was playing the spoiler role for Hunt and prevented the chasers from getting too close. At the finish, Hunt was able to account for Ignatiev in the sprint. Results 1 Jeremy Hunt (GBr, Unibet.com) 3:07:09 2 Mikhail Ignatiev (Rus, Tinkoff Credit Systems) 0:00:03 3 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel, Cofidis) 0:00:13 4 Glenn d’Hollander (Bel, Chocolade Jacques) 5 Laurens ten Dam (Ned, Unibet.com) 6 Rmi Pauriol (Fra, Credit Agricole) 7 Sven Renders (Bel, Chocolade Jacques) 0:00:17 8 Pierre Rolland (Fra, Credit Agricole) 9 Roger Hammond (GBr, T-Mobile) 0:00:21 10 Pieter Mertens (Bel, Predictor-Lotto) 0:00:24 Got a comment? Discuss this in the Procycling forum. What else is new? Check out the Procycling blog.
Unibet was allowed to start in France’s GP d’Ouverture today, and won it in style with Jeremy Hunt b