Matteo Pelucchi earned his first victory in the IAM Cycling colors at the first stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe. He had come tantalizingly close to a win during the first stage of the Tour of the Mediterranean when he took second on the line at Gruissan in early February. This time the Italian won in stunning fashion having crossed the line first after a straightaway of over a kilometer.
The team, which will be marshaled through the four day race by Kjell Carlström and Rubens Bertogliati, clearly revealed their ambitions for success at the race. At the end of the 179.4 kilometers stage, Matteo Pelucchi described the tactics behind his decisive victory over such a sprinting expert as current French National Champion Nacer Bouhanni as well as other strong sprinters like Danilo Hondo, Bryan Coquard, and Jonathan Hivert. “A massive crash happened with about 3 kilometers to go to the line, and that completely changed the situation. The wind was favorable in the long straightaway. Positioning would be all important so I made sure to be in the right spot with 300 meters to go, and I was on wheel of Sacha Modolo. I kept my position and managed to hold off a resurging Bouhanni. I am very happy with this win and would like to thank the team for their support and confidence. I need their confidence to succeed and feel as though I can win against anyone when I have their support.”
The 24 year old sprinter for IAM Cycling did not hide the fact that a victory at this point for the team could only help in their bid to secure one of the precious wild card invitations to the Tour de France. “We have been strong from the beginning of the year and have shown ourselves well in the Classics. In the stage races we have had prominent results, and are always finding ways to animate the race. We all want to be invited to go to the Tour de France. I hope that this will help a little bit to nudge the decision in our favor. In any case, the Circuit de La Sarthe is far from over. I would like to repeat my success against all the excellent sprinters here in the stages that suit me. And the team also has riders who will be aiming for a strong GC showing, especially during Wednesday’s individual time trial.”
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