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The UCI Continental Circuits Chronicle

2018 Etoile de Bessèges
2018 Etoile de Bessèges

– Race of the month –

The Etoile de Bessèges is one of the traditional early season stage races on the UCI Europe Tour calendar, this year taking place from January 31st to February 4th. The five-stage, UCI 2.1 event takes place around Bessèges, in the Gard department of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in the centre of France. It began as a one day race in 1971 before moving to its current format three years later, and joining the UCI Europe Tour in 2005.

The 2018 edition covered 621 kilometres, and comprised four road races plus a final 10.7km time trial. French riders swept the top seven spots, with Tony Gallopin of the AG2R La Mondiale team winning the overall title. Marc Sarreau (FDJ) won the opening stage field sprint, but lost the leader's jersey on the next stage to Christophe Laporte (Cofidis, Solutions Crédits), who won that stage. Sarreau roared back on the next stage to take his second win and regain the overall lead, and held it through the fourth stage, despite Belgium's Sean de Bie (Veranda’s Willems-Crelan) taking the stage win. In the final time trial, Gallopin took a decisive victory to overtake the sprinters and win the overall title.

2018 Final Standings

1. Tony Gallopin (FRA), AG2R La Mondiale, 15:03:19
2. Christophe Laporte (FRA), Cofidis, Solutions Crédits, at 0:15
3. Yoann Paillot (FRA), St Michel – Auber93, at 0:20
4. Sylvain Chavanel (FRA), Direct Energie, at 0:22
5. Jonathan Hivert (FRA), Direct Energie, at 0:26

– UCI Continental Circuits rankings as of February 25, 2018 –

Individual Rankings
UCI Africa Tour - Joseph Areruya (RWA)
UCI America Tour - Serghei Tvetcov (ROU)
UCI Asia Tour - Benjami Prades Reverter (ESP)
UCI Europe Tour - Nacer Bouhanni (FRA)
UCI Oceania Tour - Lucas Hamilton (AUS)

Teams Rankings
UCI Africa Tour - Dimension Data for Qhubeka Continental Team
UCI America Tour - Rally Cycling
UCI Asia Tour - Team Ukyo
UCI Europe Tour - Wanty - Groupe Gobert
UCI Oceania Tour - Bennelong Swisswellness Cycling Team

Nation Rankings
UCI Africa Tour - Eritrea
UCI America Tour - Colombia
UCI Asia Tour - Kazakhstan
UCI Europe Tour - France
UCI Oceania Tour - Australia

– Focus on Joseph Areruya (RWA) –

Joseph Areruya

Joseph Areruya of Rwanda moved into lead of the UCI Africa Tour at the end of February after a very strong six months of racing. A final year Under-23 rider with the Dimension Data for Qhubeka UCI Continental Team, Areruya finished 2017 by dominating his country's Tour of Rwanda (UCI 2.2), winning the overall title plus stages 1 and 3. He continued to show his abilities at the start of this year with a bronze medal in the individual time trial at the African Continental Championships, as well participating on the winning team time trial squad. At La Tropicale Amissa Bongo (UCI 2.1) in January he won the seven-stage overall title and the Youth Classification. In February he also won the four-stage Tour de l’Espoir, the opening event of the 2018 UCI Nations’ Cup U23.

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