1 NIZZOLO Giacomo ITA Israel-Premier Tech 04:50:52
2 DE LIE Arnaud BEL Lotto Dstny 00:00
3 EEKHOFF Nils NED Team DSM 00:00
4 FINÉ Eddy FRA Cofidis 00:00
5 TILLER Rasmus NOR Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 00:00
6 VENTURINI Clément FRA AG2R Citroën Team 00:00
7 PICHON Laurent FRA Team Arkéa-Samsic 00:00
8 VERMEERSCH Florian BEL Lotto Dstny 00:05
9 GACHIGNARD Thomas FRA St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93 00:05
10 WATSON Sam GBR Groupama-FDJ 00:05
11 TURGIS Anthony FRA TotalEnergies 00:12
12 ZINGLE Axel FRA Cofidis 00:36
13 KRISTOFF Alexander NOR Uno-X Pro Cycling Team 00:36
14 REYNDERS Jens BEL Israel-Premier Tech 00:36
15 VAN NIEKERK Morne RSA St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93 00:36
16 ASKEY Lewis GBR Groupama-FDJ 00:36
17 GUÉGAN Maël FRA CIC U Nantes Atlantique 00:36
18 PAGE Hugo FRA Intermarché-Circus-Wanty 00:36
19 LE GAC Olivier FRA Groupama-FDJ 00:36
20 VAN MOER Brent BEL Lotto Dstny 00:36
Lannilis, Sunday, May 7th 2023 – This Sunday, the Tro Bro Leon witnessed the consecration of a new master of the stony “ribinoù” tracks, namely Giacomo Nizzolo (Israel-Premier Tech), who brought the domination of Team Arkéa-Samsic to a close, after two consecutive victories. This master stroke was in fact a trial run: it was the first time he has taken part in the event in Finistère. Initially marked by a 150-km breakaway by Maël Guégan, Damien Girard and Morne Van Niekerk, this 39th edition was decided in the last 50 kilometres, as predicted by organiser Jean-Paul Mellouët. After attempts by Brittany natives Laurent Pichon and Olivier Le Gac, a five-man group managed brake free in the La Ferme section, 10 km from the finishing line, before being joined by two men, including Nizzolo, who then displayed his sprinting strength to become the second Italian winner of the event, four years after Andrea Vendrame. The race went down to the wire and he pipped favourite Arnaud de Lie (Lotto Dstny) and Nils Eekhoff (Team DSM) at the post. The first French rider, Isère native Eddy Finé (Cofidis), finished in 4th place.
The sky was overcast but the tarmac was dry when the 150 riders started out at 11.57 from Plouguerneau. After plenty of attempts, a first breakaway formed after 8 km. Morne Van Niekerk (St Michel-Mavic-Auber93) was accompanied by Frenchmen Maël Guégan (CIC U Nantes Atlantque) and Damien Girard (Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur). It was not the first time the South African has found himself in such a situation: he was already part of the first group of escapees last year, such boldness enabling him to finish in 8th place. The leading trio were followed a pack lying 30’’ behind before the peloton let them off the leash, trailing by two minutes on arrival in Lanarvily, where each winter the cyclo-cross dedicated to the memory of the late Jean Le Hir takes place, and by five minutes when the first of the 27 sections of ribinoù were reached, after 50 km.
De Lie unveils his ambitions
The Lotto Dstny riders slowly picked up the pace, a sign of the ambitions held by their leader Arnaud de Lie, who won the Grand Prix du Morbihan the day before and finished 4th last year. Out in front, the spoils were smartly shared, with Guégan taking the points for the first sprint (after 67 km), Girard for the first climb (after 73 km) and, later, Van Niekerk on the ribinoù. A crash gave several riders a close-up taste of the tarmac, including Matis Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic), before the third section of ribinoù, with the race ending prematurely for Jens Biermans (Arkéa-Samsic), Joris Delbove (St Michel-Mavis-Auber93) and Unai Iribar (Euskaltel-Euskadi).
Van Niekerk hunts the ribinoù points
A stone’s throw from the rocky outcrop of the Pointe Saint-Mathieu, and under the eager gaze of Brest native Valentin Madouas, who had come to watch, Van Niekerk held the lead at section No. 4, the first of the six included in the ribinoù classification (along with sections 7, 10, 15, 17 and 26). The riders then turned right to start their return towards Lannilis, along the seafront. The gap, which culminated at 6’15“, was down to five minutes halfway through the race (after 102 km of the 204 to be covered), with an average speed of 41 km/h.
The sprints for Guégan
Van Niekerk was again in front at the Eoliennes section (No. 7) whilst the peloton continued to close in (trailing by 3’15“). On passing through Brélès, 83 km from the finishing line, Guégan picked up five points more, ensuring victory in the sprint classification. As the rain started to fall, the leading trio’s lead dropped below three minutes, though the gap stabilised on this touristic route, where a few rays of sunshine lit up the spectacular coastal landscape around Landunvez.
The climbs for Girard
The peloton upped the pace markedly and only trailed by 1’05’’ on exiting section No. 10, which Van Niekerk was first to complete. The pack split in two and was made up of only approximately thirty riders when the leading trio were reeled in on the Loc Majan ascent, included in the best climber classification, 47 km from the finishing line. Girard, although caught by the peloton, still managed to complete the 11th section of ribinoù in the lead, before a final effort gave him victory in the best climber classification. On the first passage over the finishing line, the second pack, which was unable to catch the first one before the race’s conclusion, was already more than one minute behind.
Pichon and Le Gac delight the crowds
With two previous titles to boast, Arkéa-Samsic launched a major offensive on ribinoù section No. 20, 23 km from the finishing line. Elie Gesbert acted as a springboard to launch Laurent Pichon to the front, but the local rider, taking part in his 12th Tro Bro, was caught at the instigation of Norwegian champion Rasmus Tiller (Uno-X). The other darling of the crowds, Olivier Le Gac (Groupama-FDJ), found an opening with 15 km to go and led on the second passage over the finishing line, just five seconds ahead of the pack, which caught up with him on exiting ribinoù section No. 24.
Nizzolo has the last word
There were still about thirty riders able to dream of victory with 10 km left to cover. Arnaud de Lie accelerated in ribinoù section No. 26, called La Ferme. However, his attack was countered by one from former cyclo-cross specialist Eddy Finé (Cofidis) and Tiller, who gained a lead of several metres. The Belgian managed to catch back up with them accompanied by Clément Venturini (AG2R Citroen) and Nils Eekhoff (DSM). Pichon and Giacomo Nizzolo (Israël – Premier Tech) also joined the front group, before the final section. The rider from Brittany again tried his luck less than 3 km from the finishing line, but in vain, as Nizzolo triumphed with a sprint finish, just ahead of De Lie.