In addition to the European Road Championships, the Tour of Scandinavia, the Arctic Race of Norway and the Volta a Portugal, there was also a phenomenal display of racing in France today. More specifically, in Normandy.
La Polynormande, a UCI 1.1 race that is part of the Coupe de France (also known as the French Road Cycling Cup), started in Avranches and headed southeast towards Saint-Martin-de-Landelles. There, after already 30 kilometers, awaited a local course that must be completed eleven times. The 12.5 kilometer long loop included the Côte de la Vallée (1.1 km at 4.1%) and the Côte de la Pigeonnière (500 meters at 4.4%). The last kilometer towards the finish also went uphill significantly.
Some may remember Franck Bonnamour for winning the combativity award on the last stage of this year's Tour de France.
Despite the grey, rainy weather, the riders were clearly up for it. Many riders wanted to be in the breakaway of the day, and so we saw one attack after another in the opening phase. However, no one got away: at the first passage of the finish line, everyone was still together. A traditional early breakaway would never even come about, because in the second local lap already some favorites went into battle.
There were numerous contenders in the final breakwaway, namely Guillaume Martin. The Frenchman from Cofidis, recent winner of the Tour de l’Ain, had the company of Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies), Marco Tizza (Bingoal-Pauwels Sauces-WB), Clément Venturini (AG2R Citroën), Lorenzo Rota (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Matis Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic), Alexis Gougeard, Franck Bonnamour (B&B Hôtels-KTM) and Yaël Joalland (U-Nantes Atlantique). The nine - almost all designated as contenders for victory beforehand - built up a lead of about one minute.
In the peloton behind them chased Israel Premier Tech, Groupama FDJ and later also Lotto Soudal. All had missed out on the move.
Up front there was with less than four laps to go with an acceleration led by Martin. The Frenchman didn't get away, but his attack did drop Gougeard. Later also Tizza, Turgis and Joalland fell off the pace.
Meanwhile, it was also getting racing in the peloton: Arnaud De Lie attacked and tried to make up ground by himself. The Belgian failed to make contact and dropped back into the main field again, but that pack had gotten closer to the five riders who were still leading up front.
The sprint began within the last ten kilometers further thinning out occurred in the breakaway as Louvel had to let go. Not much later though another rider joined them again, Turgis. However, the peloton could not keep up with the lead group. The bunch sprint concluded with five, in which Bonnamour proved to be the fastest.