Spanish rider Mavi Garcia took her second Women’s WorldTour victory of the season at the catchily named GP de Plouay Classic Lorient Agglomeration Trophée Ceratizit. She beat Jumbo-Visma’s Amber Kraak in a head-to-head sprint, in what was Kraak’s best pro result. Grace Brown led the chasing group for the final spot on the podium. The last one-day race of the 2022 Women’s WorldTour programme, the GP de Plouay Classic Lorient Agglomeration Trophée Ceratizit looked like it was heading for a sprint until Garcia finally split the group up.
The course had been rejigged for 2022, with riders taking on 159.5 kilometres, with a final finishing circuit of 11.7km around Plouay. The famous finish line was crossed 3 times. The Rostervel, Le Lezot and Bois de Kerlucas-Kerscoulic climbs looked like they would help reduce the chances of a big sprint. Elisa Longo Borghini was here to try and retain her title but was surprisingly quiet all race.
The early break
A sign the new parcours had an effect was in the last break that formed very early on in the race. 15 riders were involved but the peloton could never give it free rein. The break contained: Chloe Hosking (Trek-Segafredo), Clara Honsinger, Sara Poidevin (EF-TIBCO-SVB), Quinty Ton (Liv Racing Xstra), Sophie Wright (UAE ADQ), Lea Curinier (DSM), Anna Shackley (SD Worx), Linda Riedmann (Jumbo-Visma), Eleonora Gasparrini (Valcar), Lea Lin Teutenberg (Ceratizit-WNT), Evy Kuijpers (Human Powered Health), Sara Martín (Movistar), Georgia Williams (BikeExchange-Jayco), Flora Perkins and Alice Towers ( Le Col-Wahoo).
Canyon SRAM did a huge amount of work leading the peloton, with Ella Harris in particular leading for around 30km, with sporadic support from the likes of FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope and Cofidis at times. With the gap coming down, Movistar’s Sara Martin attacked out of the break and managed to extend her lead enough so that when the break was pulled back in, Martin was still out in front. When Kraak and Garcia pulled a small group clear, Martin was able to slot into this group.
The final selection
This group was similarly sized to the break but contained a mix of team leaders and non-leaders. Somehow it worked well enough to pull away from the peloton, with a stalemate behind and no team either able or willing to launch a concerted chase. This group would go on to contest the win and contained: Audrey Cordon-Ragot (Trek-Segafredo), Grace Brown (FDJ), Juliette Labous (DSM), Blanka Vas (SD Worx), Ilaria Sanguineti (Valcar), Elise Chabbey (Canyon- SRAM), Laura Asencio (Ceratizit-WNT), Sheyla Gutriérrez (Movistar), Tamara Dronova-Balabolina (Roland Cogeas), Amanda Spratt (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Gladys Verhulst (Le Col-Wahoo).
Garcia knew that she would have to attack plenty to try and distance the stronger sprinters, of which there were many in this group. With 10km to go, she attempted it but the split group came back together again. The decisive move was made shortly after an attack by Juliette Labous was pulled back at 2km. With Garcia on the front through a tight corner, riders began to sit up and rest after the effort to get back onto Labous’ wheel. Garcia saw the pain on their faces and attacked, with only Amber Kraak able to hold her wheel. Labous gamefully tried but when she rolled off, Blanka Vas was unable to close the gap and then group 2 syndrome kicked in as no one wanted to compromise a potentially winning sprint.
“Because of my limited experience, I didn’t play the game well. I didn’t dare look back because I was afraid the group would come back. It was a bit on the safe side. Next time I’ll make it a little harder for Garcia on the finish line.”Amber Kraak
Kraak led out the sprint with 200m to go but Mavi Garcia was strong enough to come round and take a comfortable victory.
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