Images: Yuzuru Sunada
Paris-Tours is a special race. It's the penultimate major classic of the season, ahead of the Giro di Lombardia, and it often offers the first glimpse of the newly crowned world champion's rainbow stripes on the roads of France's Loire Valley. Long dubbed the sprinter's classic, recent years have seen plenty of crafty breakaways go clear, either from an early escape or through the final, tortuous kilometers outside of Tours.
This year's race provided exactly the level of excitement the fans hope for in the finale, with a day-long break splintering from repeated attacks, several daring moves by would-be victors, and a crafty two-man sprint on the famed Avenue de Grammont in Tours. The BMC team's Greg Van Avermaet confirmed his talents by taking his first big classic victory ahead of Marco Marcato of Italy. World champion Mark Cavendish didn't figure in the expected sprint, but nonetheless looked sharp in his new rainbow jersey.