TOURS, France (AP) — Jelle Wallays of Belgium outsprinted Thomas Voeckler to win the Paris-Tours classic on Sunday.
Voeckler made his move 200 meters from the finish line, but Wallays easily overtook the French veteran.
Seven riders, including Voeckler and Wallays, escaped in the opening kilometers to build a lead that reached 6 minutes, 40 seconds.
Jens Debusschere of Belgium won a mass sprint to take third place, 12 seconds off the pace.
Beating Voeckler makes this win even nicer, Wallays said. My fitness has been very good in the last five weeks.
The 237.5-kilometer (147.6-mile) trek from Bonneval to Tours was marred by crashes because of a wet road.
Defending champion John Degenkolb — tipped as a strong favorite after winning the Paris-Bourges race on Thursday — led a chasing group in the final kilometers in an attempt to reel Wallays and Voeckler in, but the other riders seemed to fear the German s speed and refused to collaborate.
Voeckler attacked in the penultimate climb, Cote de Beau Soleil, to shake off his fellow escapees. Only Wallays, who won the Omloop van het Houtland last month in Belgium, was able to keep pace with the Frenchman.
Voeckler was chasing his first victory of the season. He underwent surgery in August to repair a broken collarbone after colliding with a car.
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