Galimzyanov wins Sarthe opener
Denis Galimzyanov won the opening stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe from St-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie to Raille.
The Katusha rider prevailed in a mass sprint after a failed breakaway by team-mate Mikhail Ignatiev on the 192.8km stage.
Sacha Modolo (Colnago) and Juan-Jose Haedo (Saxo Bank) made up the rest of the top three.
Ignatiev was one of three men to escape the peloton, along with Arnaud Courteille (FDJ BigMat) and Benoit Jarrier (Veranda Rideau U), who were nearly 10 minutes clear at the 44km mark.
However, they were reeled in by the pack following an effort led by Europcar and Cofidis and the Russian was the last man to be caught inside the final kilometre.
"Today we did great team work," said Galimzyanov. "We had Ignatiev ahead all day long, but when we saw the group would catch him we went ahead to impose our pace and find a good position for the final massive sprint.
"All my team-mates worked well especially Brutt and Belkov so I have to thank them for my victory. In the last 200 metres I saw Haedo started his rush, so I followed and passed him and then nobody could reach me and I took a good win.
"I'm happy about that because the last straight was a little uphill so it wasn't an easy sprint and I'm not 100% because I'm still recovering from the physical troubles I had in March. Anyways, my shape is improving and this victory gives me strong morale."