The peloton have picked up the pace in the last few minutes with a couple more riders moving to the front and now the gap is down to 3’30 with around 110km to go.
At the moment, the gap is holding at just under five minutes and we have around 120km to go. Direct Energie are on the front and doing all the work for the moment. Last year’s winner, Benoît Cosnefroy, he’s not here by the way as he recovers from an knee injury but AG2R still have a strong contingent here with Calmejane and Gallopin in the line-up.
According to reports Matti Breschel is the DS today for the team. He was used to racing early season events in France, so should have a good game plan for today. It’s worth pointing out that most riders might have raced by now in the year but with the Tour Down Under and the San Juan race both cancelled, this is the first major outing for a lot of team.
EF-Education Nippo are also here. And they’ve brought their new jerseys. The rollerblading duck on his way to the methadone clinic (look at his eyes!) has been replaced by a more traditional kit by Rapha and the team. It’s actually very good, and so was the duck one to be fair.
UAE Team Emirates, who went shopping in the Christmas sales and bought Marc Hirschi have Matteo Trentin on the startlist. Another new signing, Ryan Gibbons is also here. Hirschi isn’t though.
We’ve a stacked line-up here today with Lotto Soudal bringing a number of their big guns. Philippe Gilbert, who celebrated the birth of a baby recently*, is here alongside John Degenkolb and Tim Wellens.
* His baby, I should add. Not just a random baby.
130km to go and the leaders have five full minutes on the peloton. Just a reminder, but our six riders out in front are, Eliot Lietaer (B&B Hotels), Jens Reynders (Sport Vlaanderen) Morne van Niekerk (Auber93), Jon Barrenetxa (Caja Rural), Kenny Molly (Wallonie Bruxelles) and Vojtec Repa (Kern Pharma).
To bring you up to speed, the race started just under an hour ago and we have a break up the road that consists of Eliot Lietaer, Jens Reynders, Morne van Niekerk, Jon Barrenetxa, Kenny Molly and Vojtec Repa. The six riders are enjoying some fine late January weather today with blue skies and little in the way of wind.
Good afternoon. How have you been?
Welcome back to our live race coverage. It’s been a while but we’re kicking off our 2021 schedule with a few hours from the GP Cycliste la Marseillaise.