Nicolas Guillé, Ag2r- Citroën
Benoît Cosnefroy took victory in the Bretagne Classic ahead of the DQS pair of Julian Alaphilippe and Mikkel Honoré. The trio had initially escaped with Tadej Pogačar with 60km to go, then dropped the Slovenian. Cosnefroy won the sprint, despite being outnumbered in the finale.
We know that Benoît is always good in August and September. I’m his trainer as well as his coach, and we know it is the same every year so he is always motivated during this part of the season. It was therefore a goal of the team that he would be playing for the victory and we were very focused on getting a good result.
Plouay is a race with a very high level, with a tough course, so we knew he’d be in the mix, and the prerace strategy was for everybody to do everything they could to protect Benoît and to keep an eye on Julian Alaphilippe. The aim for the team was for Benoît to be able to go with the best riders when they went.
When the four attacked with 60km to go, with Alaphilippe, Pogacar, Honoré and Benoît, we knew the race was on, so the plan worked perfectly.
60km is a long way out, but we’ve seen a lot of long-range attacks succeed, and Benoît was ready to go. The important thing was not when the attack went, but to be with the right riders when it went. We could see that Benoît was going extremely well, even visibly better than the others at the front. We were a bit nervous about that, actually, because he was going so well, the others could also notice.
I was surprised that Pogacar was dropped. In the final three, normally two against one favours the pair, but the peloton were always only 30 to 50 seconds back, so the two Deceuninck riders were obliged to work. From there, it came down to who was strongest - normally that might be Alaphilippe, but after a long race, and with the form that Benoît had, he was the freshest in the sprint and could take the victory.