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Bagdonas 13th on stage three of Etoile de Besseges

Posted 03 February 2012


by Cillian Kelly,

Gediminas Bagdonas was the best placed An Post-Sean Kelly rider on stage three of Etoile de Besseges finishing 13th behind Pierre Rolland whose victory saw him take control of the race lead.

After yesterday's stage was shortened due to a combination of snow and icy conditions, the race returned to normality today with a 152km stage around the town of Bessèges. 

Although the sun was out and there was very little wind, the thermometer remained below 0°C as the riders tackled three ascents of the Col de Trelys

With over 100km remaining until the finish, a group of riders which included race leader Marcel Kittel (Project 1t4i) were dropped from the peloton the first time up the climb and never regained contact.

A group of eight riders which included Rolland, last year's winner of the Alpe d'Huez stage in the Tour de France, made their way clear of the peloton with 75km to go. 

The escape group gained a maximum advantage of 2'15" but with seven kilometres to go, Rolland, Franck Vermeulen (Véranda Rideau) and Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R-La Mondiale) attacked the group while the other five riders were reeled in.

Ultimately, Bonnafond faded and returned to the peloton as the remaining two escapees sprinted it out for the win with Rolland trumping Vermeulen. 

Winner of stage one, Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) led the peloton home in third place just seconds later with the group understood to include all of the An Post-Sean Kelly team.

The freezing conditions look set to continue tomorrow as Ronan McLaughlin, Sean Downey and the rest of the An Post-Sean Kelly riders prepare for the penultimte day's 150km trip from St. Genies-de-Comolas to Bagnols-sur-Ceze.


Étoile de Bessèges, Stage 2: Bessèges– Bessèges, 152 kilometres 

1. Pierre Rolland (Europcar) 3:55:54
2. Franck Vermeulen (Véranda Rideau)
3. Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ-BigMat)
4. Stéphane Poulhiès (Saur-Sojasun)
5. Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM)

An Post-Sean Kelly Team:

3. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) 

17. Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) 
81. Mark McNally (GBr)
85. Ronan McLaughlin (Irl)
90. Sean Downey (Irl) - all same time
106. Niko Eeckhout (Bel) at 15:49

120. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) at 23:41

DNF Stijn Ennekens (Bel)

General classification after stage 3:

1. Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 8:59:35
2. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) FDJ – Big Mat 0:00:02
3 Franck Vermeulen (Fra) Veranda Rideau U 0:00:06

4. Bobbie Traksel (Ned) Landbouwkrediet 0:00:13
5. Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil – DCM Pro Cycling 0:00:14

An Post-Sean Kelly Team:

18. Gediminas Bagdonas (Ltu) 

44. Pieter Ghyllebert (Bel) 
81. Ronan McLaughlin (Irl)
85. Mark McNally (GBr) - all same time

94. Sean Downey (Irl) at  3 minutes, 32 seconds
107. Niko Eeckhout (Bel)  at 16:02

118. Kenneth Van Bilsen (Bel) at  23:54

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