Score one for the Sunny Vacationers.
The team sponsored by the vacation company (Vancan, short for vacation, soliel, sun in French) won the first stage of the Etoile de Besseges. Slovenian Borut Bozic, operating on tired legs, still sprinted to the win over An Post-Sean Kelly team’s Niko Eeckhout and Frenchman Arnaud Molmy.
“It was more than perfect how the team rode today. It’s unbelievable that I already win right now, my teammates convinced me to participate in the sprint, as in my opinion I wasn’t good enough to do a sprint,” said Bozic.
Julien Loubet (AG2R-La Mondiale) and Floris Goesinnen (Skil-Shimano) executed the break of the day at kilometer 18 and were soon in another time zone, gaining almost 10 minutes before the chase group got the wake-up call.
Française des Jeux and Vacansoleil ramped up the speed and made an earlier than expected catch with two circuits of 19.5 kilometers to go. Even the late arrival of guest Johan Coenen (Topsport Vlaanderen) only postponed the inevitable. Au revoir, Julien and Floris, you got your airtime on France 2 — see you at the bar at La Casqille.
Yes, it was all work for the Sunny Vacationers but the sun was in fact shining for the 146km race from Aigues Mortes to Le Grau du Roi. In the bunch sprint, Bozic put a stop to the FdJ train and its sprinter Sébastien Chavanel — who experienced the meager thrill of fourth place.
“This is surely not our last victory in the coming weeks. The leader jersey is a good support and I will see what is going to happen day by day,” said Bozic. Okay, big fella, rest up, vacation time now.