February 4, 2012, (VN) — Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) darted to victory in Saturday’s weather-shortened stage at the Etoile de Besseges in southern France.
For the second time in three days, foul weather forced race organizers to redirect the route that’s been plagued with cold, wind and snow. After some consideration, offcials opted to hold the race on a 22km circuit in Bagnols-sur-Ceze.
Bobbie Tracksel tried his luck at an escape, but Europcar rode to defend the leader’s jersey of Pierre Rolland. The group was later
fractured in heavy winds, with second-place rider Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ) losing the wheel.
Marcato held off Belgian veteran Nico Eeckhout (An Post-Sean Kelly) to claim the win, with Julien El Fares coming close with third for his new squad at Team Type 1.
Rolland carries the leader’s jersey into Sunday’s double-stage finale, which includes a road stage and a 9.7km individual time trial to wrap France’s first stage race on the 2012 season.