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Written by Deny Smith

Audrey Cordon Ragot (Trek-Segafredo) claimed her first elite road title with an emphatic solo attack with just under 5km to go.

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The 30-year-old missed out in the time trial on Friday by five seconds to Juliet Labous (Sunweb) but was taking no chances in Grand-Champ on Saturday.

After shattering the reduced field with a few probing attacks, Cordon Ragot used an uphill section to dispatch three riders and go solo to the line.

Gladys Verhulst (Team Arkéa) out-sprinted Clara Copponi (FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) for the silver medal.

It was an emotional win for Cordon-Ragot, who was outnumbered by the FDJ Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope and Arkéa teams.

“Pierre Rolland told me this morning, ‘Audrey, today you have to race with a cold head and a warm heart.’ I kept repeating that in my head the whole day. I was composed and made a really deliberate attack when I did,” Cordon-Ragot said.

“A national championship race is never simple. I knew the course really well, every corner. The little hills were not hard, but the succession of them made them really hurt. I had different scenarios in my head this morning, all coming down to trimming down the bigger teams.

“Yesterday was such an immense disappointment for me, and I couldn’t get over it. But today, I rebounded from it perfectly. I had so many goosebumps at the end! So many people shouting my name, it was incredible! I’m from Brittany, so this is like a home race for me… unbelievable!

“To be able to pull this off is just incredible! This is the most beautiful moment in my career: being able to win and wear this beautiful jersey. I am going to enjoy it!”

Sunday, 23 August, 12:00CET – Spanish Men’s Road Race
Sunday, 23 August, 14:50CET – Italian Men’s Road Race
Sunday, 23 August, 14:30CET – French Men’s Road Race

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Deny Smith