Etoile de Besseges 2016 Preview – Ciclismo Internacional

Etoile de Besseges 2016 Preview

By David Hunter

Stage racing is back in France, as we face the 46th edition of the race. Bob Jungels won here in 2015, thanks to a dominant TT, but he’s not back to defend his title.

The route is very similar to 2015, with stages 4 and 5 being crucial for the GC. The other stages cannot be underestimated as bonus seconds are on offer. That, and the weather, can have a big impact on the race. Thankfully, the riders are in for a treat. The weather forecast looks good for most of the race, with sun and not much wind. Perfect conditions for most of the bunch.

Stage 1

besseges 1

An easy start to the race and one for the sprinters. Matteo Pelucchi is the stand out sprinter here and will expect to win stages.

Stage 2

besseges 2

Stage 2 features a long cat 2 climb, before the lap circuit in Mejannes-Le-Clap. Again, should be a day for the sprinters. Pelucchi isn’t the best climber, I wonder if some of the other teams will try to apply some pressure.

Stage 3

besseges 3

3 ascents of the Col de Trells certainly makes this a tough stage. If a strong break escapes, it will be hard to bring them back.

Stage 4

besseges 4

Stage 4 finishes with a steep climb, a great day for the puncheurs. It was Tony Gallopin who won this stage in 2015, on his way to 2nd on GC.

Stage 5

besseges 5

The race ends with the hugely important TT. It might just be 12km, but the finishing climb means that we get big time gaps. Bob Jungels beat Tony Gallopin by 19 seconds here in 2015. You cannot afford to go out too fast, you need energy for the climb.


Having a strong TT is vital. If you don’t, you have very little chance of winning the title. That narrows down the field.

Tony Gallopin – 2nd here in 2015. Has the capability of winning sprint stages and taking intermediate bonus seconds. His TT can be impressive, an aspect of his performance that has been improving. I think he starts the race as the favourite.

Thibaut Pinot – an impressive performance in GP Marseillaise proves that he had a good winter. There are no big climbs here, so he must rely on his TT. Due to this, he doesn’t have a huge chance of winning.

Ignatas Konovalovas – has just joined FDJ from Team Marseille. His career certainly stalled a little but the ex-Movistar man had a good 2015, winning 4 Days of Dunkirk. He is the current TT champion of Lithuania, so cannot be underestimated. He likes races that are very tough.

JC Peraud – has been in Argentina but form is not always great at the start of the season.

Jerome Coppel – the TT champion of France. Word is, he has started the season well and a dominant TT performance is well within his reach.

Dries Devenyns – took a wonderful win in GP Marseillaise. Clearly had a good winter but will find it hard to win this race.

Sylvain Chavanel – has now moved from IAM to Direct Energie. A short TT, with a hill, is great news for him. Like a few others, he will hope that Gallopin does not take bonus seconds.

Stephane Rossetto – one of the stars of 2015. Went well in the Vuelta, was 2nd in the French TT championships and 4th in Chrono Des Nations. Maybe a bit early in the season for him.

Jonathan Hivert – a fast man who can certainly win a few stages. If he does, he would hope to hang on in the TT.

Asbjorn Kragh Andersen – making his debut for Delko Marseille, the Dane is a very impressive young rider. He can sprint, climb and TT. That means he is perfect for this race. Not riding for a strong team could hurt him.

Thomas Sprengers – the next rider on the conveyor belt of talent that is called TopSport. Now that Theuns and Campaenaerts have left, he will step up to fill the void. Can sprint well from a small group, so he’ll hope for some hard days. A very talented rider who is destined for bigger things.

Arnaud Demare – after a poor 2015, I really hope that Arnaud is back to his best. If he is, this is a race for him. A very fast sprinter who can TT well over a short distance.

The outcome of the race depends on the result of the sprints. Jerome Coppel will be hoping that Matteo Pelucchi can take a few sprint stages. He doesn’t want to be 15 seconds behind Tony Gallopin going into the TT. The same is true of all the TT riders here. Gallopin is the main threat. If he starts the TT with a big lead, he will not lose.

Prediction Time

IAM have started the season well and I think this will continue. Thanks to Pelucchi taking some sprint wins, Jerome Coppel will take the overall.

David HunterFollow us on @CiclismoInterJoin us on facebook: Ciclismo Internacional

Copyright © 2016 Ciclismo Internacional. All Rights Reserved

Facebook IconTwitter IconMi BlogMi Blog

Discover more from Ciclismo Internacional

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading