Durbridge wins Circuit de la Sarthe
Luke Durbridge won the Circuit de la Sarthe in Sable-sur-Sarthe after defying a sore knee and Francisco Ventoso on the final stage of the race.
Thomas Dekker won the bunch sprint for the line to take victory in the 166.6km final stage, a first individual win for the Garmin-Barracuda rider after completing a two-year ban in the middle of last season.
GreenEdge's Durbridge was forced to keep up with Movistar's Ventoso and prevent him from collecting the 19 bonus seconds available on the final day, and was relieved when his rival failed to grab the opportunity. Durbridge is just the fourth rider to win the race at the tender age of 20, following Bernard Hinault (1975), Greg LeMond (1980) and Thomas Lövkvist (2004).
"The teams of the sprinters had missed the break, so it was just a question of the race to come down to a final bunch sprint," explained the Australian, who was all but handed the title when Ventoso missed two intermediate sprints on the finishing circuit due to breakaways.
"I was more nervous today. Yesterday I expected to lose the yellow jersey but today I had a chance of winning the race. This is only my second race as a pro in Europe I was already happy to finish in the top ten of the Three Days of De Panne. Now this one is a pretty big win."
Dekker, meanwhile, was thrilled with his win.
"Normally I'm not a sprinter," Dekker said. "A few riders attacked before the final sprint. I went with them. With 500 metres to go, I watched behind and saw a gap, so I fought till the finishing line. It was an intense effort of 1100 metres. It's a good feeling to be a winner again. I'm really happy...
"I hope to be a pro for the next ten years. I hope to win a stage at the Tour de France one day, or maybe a classic. I'd like to ride the Tour de France this year."