GP Ouest France - Plouay (FRA) - 23.08.2009
North-east France is one of the cornerstones of French cycling and so rightly hosts a UCI ProTour race every year.
The small Breton town of Plouay has hosted a race since 1931 and even the UCI World Road Championships were held there in 2000. The event has grown to three days of cycling with a cyclosportive ride on the Friday, an Elite Menâ€™s race and Womenâ€™s UCI World Cup race on the Saturday, before the grande finale, the UCI ProTour GP Ouest France â€“ Plouay, on Sunday August 23.
The event organisation is always world class thanks to the hard work of the local volunteers. Riders love to ride the GP Ouest France and it is one of the biggest objectives of the season for the French riders. The 229km race covers 12 laps of a demanding circuit that includes climbs and technical descents and really tests the ridersâ€™ fitness just a few weeks before the UCI World Road Championships. The event has thoroughly deserved an extension of its UCI ProTour licence until 2012.
Last year Franceâ€™s Pierrick FÃ©drigo took the biggest win of his career when he beat Italyâ€™s Alessandro Ballan and David Lopez Garcia of Spain in a three-rider sprint. The trio broke clear of the peloton in the final laps after an aggressive race but Fedrigo showed he was fastest with a perfect sprint executed in front of the thousands of cheering French cycling fans.
Other recent winners of this French classic include George Hincapie of the USA in 2005, Vincenzo Nibali of Italy in 2006 and Thomas Voeckler of France in 2007. Who will add their name to the list in 2009?