Stephen Bassett lit up the breakaway at Paris-Bourges on Thursday by winning both the sprints and KOM classification. The 26-year-old launched the early breakaway and went on to score points at all but one of the day’s intermediate sprints and climbs.
“I made sure to check my efforts early in the race in order to have the acceleration needed to get the classifications,” Bassett said afterward. “I was able to pretty easily take the sprint points but the KOM was a lot trickier as I was second over the first one but Tony Gallopin (AG2R Citroën Team) upped the pace and dropped the leader so I was able to soak up the final few points.”
At the finish, Bassett heaped praise on his Felt AR and Pactimo kit.
“I was also really happy with my kit as there were so many sections where I could hunker down and coast while I could see the guys in front of me had to keep on the pedals for longer.”
Bassett has been active in breakaways and the amount of racing he has done in Europe has left him in good stead.
“I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress this season in adapting to life and racing in Europe,” he said. “I’ve taken my chances in breakaways and had good results so I’m happy.”
Rally Cycling animated much of the racing before the final bunch sprint that was won by Jordi Meeus (BORA – hansgrohe). Pier-André Coté was the team’s top finisher in 24th place.
After winning the KOM prize at the Eurométropole Tour, Robin Carpenter said that the team wanted to improve on their performance at Paris-Bourges from 2019. Keen to bury the demons of two years ago, the Philadelphia rider went for a daring breakaway with Ryan Mullen (Trek – Segafredo) inside the final 10km before being caught by the charging peloton.
Kyle Murphy also launched an attack late on, but the flat run-in proved difficult terrain to open a gap up. Although their bids for glory didn’t work out, they were examples of how Rally Cycling riders race with their hearts on their sleeves.
The men’s team will spend the next week in France as they prepare for the final race of the season at the Grand Prix du Morbihan on October 16.