A day after the women race around the hilly circuit of Plouay, the men head out to fight over the roads of south Brittany. There’s a change to the usually route, but the race will still be based on a tough circuit that leans towards a fight between the puncheurs and the sprinters that manage to survive the large amount of climbing to be done over the race. Team Giant-Alpecin will be looking to leave its mark on the WorldTour race.
After a win on the final stage of the Arctic Race of Norway, followed by a close second place at the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg, John Degenkolb comes to France looking for another result. He will be aiming to improve on his best result of 10th here, from back in 2013, the team’s first and only top 10 finish at this race.
Degenkolb will be joined by a strong line-up capable of both challenging for the late breakaways on the tough climbs that the circuit repeatedly tackles, as well as delivering him to the finish in a position to sprint for the victory.
Coach Adriaan Helmantel said ahead of the race: “There’s a different course to usual which will for sure have an influence on the race. If you ride the same course you know how to react and what should happen, so now it will be a more open race, but I expect that like other years that it will be close between a small bunch sprint or a breakaway just staying away.
“In the team we have John who showed in Hamburg that he’s getting better and better. The course suits him here so we will aim for a good result with him, while the others will support him as much as possible and will try to be sharp with the dangerous breaks, making sure that we are there.”