By Jonny Long published
Benoît Cosnefroy resisted the strength of Deceuninck - Quick-Step duo Julian Alaphilippe and Mikkel Honoré to win the Bretagne Classic in a two-up sprint against the world champion.
Deceuninck - Quick-Step had forced the pace on an unpaved section, forging clear alongside Cosnefroy and Tadej Pogačar, soon sweeping up the remaining breakaway riders of Quinten Hermans (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert) and Alessandro De Marchi (Israel Start-Up Nation).
Pogačar soon fell away, paying for his efforts on his return to racing, before eventually it was Cosnefroy against Deceuninck - Quick-Step, the peloton close behind but not close enough to close the gap.
Honoré dropped twice en route to the finale, Alaphilippe shaking his head to Cosnefroy when the Frenchman asked for a turn, Deceuninck - Quick-Step tactical sound once again, and the Dane getting back on.
It was clear this fight was between Alaphilippe and the Ag2r man, however, and the pair unleashed their sprints for the line, with Cosnefroy ahead but Alaphilippe coming back strong before the world champion relented, shaking his head as his compatriot took the victory.
Behind, Ethan Hayter sprinted to fourth from the peloton, just ahead of Arkéa-Samsic's Connor Swift, in a good result for the two British riders.
Franck Bonnamour, Jasper Stuyven, Valentin Madouas, Quentin and Giacomo Nizzolo filled the rest of the top 10, around 13 seconds behind Cosnefroy.
Bretagne Classic Ouest France 2021: Plouay to Plouay (251km)
1. Benoît Cosnefroy (Fra) Ag2r Citroën, in 5-59-56
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at same time
3. Mikkel Honoré (Den) Deceuninck - Quick-Step, at three seconds
4. Ethan Hayter (GBr) Ineos Grenadiers, at 13s
5. Connor Swift (GBr) Arkéa Samsic
6. Franck Bonnamour (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM
7. Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
8. Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels p/b KTM, at 16s
10. Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) Qhubeka-NextHash, at 17s
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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