Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling) won the 50th edition of the Bretagne Classic by out sprinting his late breakaway companion Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac). Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won the sprint from the main pack to take the final podium placing.
It was a wet day at the Bretagne Classic as riders embarked on a tough 247km route. The race was characterised by an 8 rider breakaway which formed in the opening kilometers of the race. With a fair way to go, the break was allowed to build up a lead of 6 minutes before a couple of teams started to control the pace from the peloton.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka were looking after our Norwegian champion, Edvald Boasson Hagen. As the rain continued to fall, there was very little action over the undulating course until we hit the 50km to go marker. Etixx-Quickstep and Lotto-Soudal accelerated from the peloton and this put a few riders into difficulty while also reeling in the breakaway.
The rough narrow roads made positioning very important and Boasson Hagen was always well placed up front. A number of riders started attacking from the peloton and bridging over to the original breakaway. The composition of the front group changed continually as the race made it’s way to the final 14km finishing circuit.
At one stage Boasson Hagen found himself in a 30 rider lead group with just 30km to go but it was from this group where the winning counter attack came from Naesen and Bettiol. The duo was initially joined by Guillaume Martin (Wanty Gobert) during the attack but he would drop back to the main field with just 4km to go.
As a largely reduced main bunch tried to get organised and reel back the 2 leaders, our African Team had Boasson Hagen and Kanstantsin Siutsou still in contention. Reinardt Janse van Rensburg was also part of the final selection but a crash on the slick and wet roads put an end to his race before the finish line was reached. Naesen and Bettiol combined well though and they would arrive at the finish with just 5 seconds to spare. Kristoff led the bunch home and Boasson Hagen would end in 10th place overall for our African Team.