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Back to the Doubs to imitate Vliegen

Due to the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Classic Grand Besançon (1.1, 3/09) and the Tour du Jura (1.1, 4/09) moved from April to September, resulting in a trio of French semi classics in the Doubs region between September 3rd and 5th, together with the Tour du Doubs (1.1, 5/09). The Classic Grand Besançon and the Tour du Jura are organized for the first time in their history as a one day race on a pro level. With the Classic Grand Besançon growing from a race for amateurs and youth categories, the Tour du Jura is transformed from a two day race on a lower level. With Thomas Degand, Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux is on the palmares of the two day race in 2016.

This Friday, a big loop from start city Besançon is made towards Marchaux, where a local lap of 20 kilometer will be ridden to reach the total distance of 172.5 kilometer. The Col de la Grande Côte (2x) and the Côte d’Arguel are the only categorized climbs on the parcours. 

The parcours of the Tour du Jura turns in 181.8 kilometer in all directions around Lons-le-Saunier. The profile is more demanding than the one of the Grand Classic Besançon and contains the Côte de la Baume, de Château-Chalon, du Chaumois-Boivin and de Lavigny. Gradients up to 22 per cent are waiting for the riders in the final kilometers on the  Côte de Montciel and de Mancy.

The parcours of the Tour du Doubs is the same as the previous edition. The 206 kilometer between Morteau and Pontarlier this Sunday is filled with medium length of climbs and gradients. In the previous edition, the riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert chased a breakaway with Biniam Girmay Hailu. This prevented the Eritrean rider not to be offensive again in the final with the Col de la République (4.4km at 4%) and Le Larmont (4.4km at 5.2%). He was accompanied by Loïc Vliegen, who dropped his companions 300 meter before the top of the final climb and soloed in the 6 kilometer downhill to the victory. Behind, Biniam Girmay Hailu and Baptiste Planckaert sprinted to 2nd and 9th. As the parcours and the list of participants are similar, the race scenario of the eighth race of the French Cup might be similar as well.

Loïc Vliegen won’t defend his title in the Tour du Doubs, but Biniam Girmay Hailu and Baptiste Planckaert are part of the line up. Both came close to the victory before (Girmay 2nd in 2020, Planckaert 2nd in 2016 and 9th in 2020). All French riders of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux will start on home soil. Local rider Théo Delacroix, Jérémy Bellicaud and trainee Maxime Jarnet will defend the colors of the team. Furthermore, Belgian and Australian neo pros Jasper De Plus and Alexander Evans will race in the east of France under the guidance of sports director Frédéric Amorison.

I’m looking forward to next weekend, because this kind of French races with medium length of climbs suits me really well. We want to have the race under control without putting too much energy in the chase, so we need to be strong tactically if we want to be in the finals with as much riders as possible. Then, we need to discuss who feels best. If I don’t feel good enough to take the victory, I want to sacrifice a mediocre result for support to my teammates or for better legs the next day. We’re ambitious indeed. With Biniam Girmay Hailu we’ve got another rider who can aim for the victory. I’m pleased to race alongside the rider from Eritrea. He really impressed me. Biniam is one of the young talents with a big engine who dare to go from far. Hopefully he’s recovered from his crash in Plouay, so we can achieve succes with the team this weekend! 

03/09: Classic Grand Besançon: Besançon – Marchaux (172,4km) 
04/09: Tour du Jura: Lons-Le-Saunier (181,75 km)
05/09: Tour du Doubs: Morteau – Pontarlier (206 km)

Line up:
Jérémy Bellicaud
Jasper De Plus
Théo Delacroix
Alexander Evans
Biniam Girmay Hailu
Maxime Jarnet
Baptiste Planckaert

Sportive Direction:
Frédéric Amorison


General Classification


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