Race: Grand Prix de Fourmies/ La Voix du Nord
Start/Finish: Fourmies / Fourmies, France
FOURMIES, FRANCE – Charles Planet hit out on home soil on Sunday, bringing his breakaway stylings to the 205km GP du Fourmies in northern France on a sunny day in September.
Planet, who competed on Saturday in rainy Belgium, was determined to find the front of the bike race in Fourmies, and after a hard 20km of fighting settled in with eight other riders. With a maximum advantage of three minutes, Planet and his fellow escapees kept a solid paceline over an undulating course in the 87th edition of the race, bringing their group into the five finishing circuits around hilly Fourmies.
City managers planned a large festival, with local businesses displaying their goods in a massive tent that offered food, drink and kids’ games, while cycling-mad French fans lined the streets to see Planet and hear esteemed French cycling announcer Daniel Mangeas list aloud the long string of breakaways that Charles has put himself into this season as he passed in front of the finish line.
Teammates behind Planet in the main peloton kept together for designated sprinter Andrea Peron, and when the breakaway was caught with less than one lap to go held steady while a series of crashes took out a few of the other fast men at the front. All riders from the world’s first all-diabetes pro cycling team remained upright and finished together after almost five hours of racing.
Team Novo Nordisk continues racing in China this week and will next race in Europe starting September 18 at the four-day, five-stage Tour of Slovakia.
“It was the first race this season in France for me, so I was really happy to race on home soil, because of course it’s really nice to race in front of French fans. I fought really hard to get in the breakaway, and we were nine riders all together working really well. Yesterday I raced in Belgium and I spent a lot of energy, especially in the rain, and the guys with me today didn’t race yesterday. At the end I felt yesterday’s race in my legs, especially because of the rain. But I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed almost 180km in the break and got to show our team jersey here at home in France.”
1st: Pascal Ackerman (BORA – hansgrohe) 4:46:29
2nd: Jasper Philipsen (UAE-Team Emirates): ”
3rd: Boy Van Poppel (Roompot – Charles): ”
22nd: Andrea Peron: 0:06 behind Ackerman