Philippe Gilbert Won Paris-Tours - JJ Held Back By Crash Today, an amputated delegation of Team Saxo Bank-riders was gathered to participate in the 230 kilometer long French autumn classic, Paris-Tours. Only six riders were on the line-up for the race while
[11.10 16:52] Today, an amputated delegation of Team Saxo Bank-riders was gathered to participate in the 230 kilometer long French autumn classic, Paris-Tours. Only six riders were on the line-up for the race while most other teams came with eight riders. Lars Bak, Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Lasse Bøchman, Juan Jose Haedo, Marcus Ljungqvist and today's temporary, Michael Mørkøv who was summoned to the team a few days before the race.
Ten riders formed today's threatening breakaway and they stuck together until about thirty kilometers from the finish line where the front group splintered in the meeting with the final hills.
With 25 kilometers to go, the peloton caught the breakaway-left-behinds which animated several attacks from the field where Quickstep soon took the lead to prepare the sprint for the sprinter, Tom Boonen. In the front Tom Veelers (Skil-Shimano) insisted on keeping the lead.
On the steep hill eight kilometers from the finish line the course dramatically opened up as Tom Boonen (Quick Step) launched an attack with last year's winner of the race, Philippe Gilbert (Lotto) and Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) on his wheel. The trio stuck together until a few hundred meters from the finish line where Philippe Gilbert (Lotto) took the initiative and made the first move which secured him the victory for the second year in a row. Tom Boonen (Quick Step) was a little slow to react and he missed the triumph.
"The team was doing really well today and we opted to keep JJ at the very front on the final kilometers. He was feeling very strong and it seemed to be a great opportunity with several other sprinters out of the race. 6 kilometers to go, the field was unfortunately stopped by a crash and nearly half a minute passed before we had the train back on track and then the race was over. They were all ready to give JJ their best in the preparation for the sprint and I am very pleased to see the young riders like Michael (Mørkøv) and Lasse (Bøchman) finish the race with great morale”, said sports director Dan Frost after the race.