In a fast, slightly downhill bunch sprint into Granada, the TV cameras initially focussed in on Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) as he crossed the line, raising his arms in the air. But on the other side of the road and in the last 50 metres, Boudat, a former UCI Track World Championships Omnium winner, powered past Modolo for a narrow but convincing win.
Initially unsure that he had taken the victory, Boudat was told by his sports director to return to the finish “just in case.” And that “just in case” proved to be right, with the 23-year-old claiming the biggest road win of his incipient pro career to date.
In the process, Boudat also claimed the overall lead of the Ruta del Sol and also continued France’s lengthy run of bunch sprint success in the Spanish race. Former Direct Energie fast man Bryan Coquard won the race’s previous full bunch sprint last year on stage 4, and sprinter Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) triumphed in the same race back in 2016 at Cordoba.
Coquard has now moved on to Vital Concept during the off-season, and if Boudat was previously overshadowed by his compatriot in bunch sprints with Direct Energie, in 2018 the young Frenchman has wasted no time stepping into the spotlight in the Ruta del Sol.
“I couldn’t find a gap to get through in the last metres, but I went for it as best I could,” Boudat said. “I was on the other side of the road, and I had no idea I had won. But my director told me to go to the finish to see what was going on, because I could hear my name on the loudspeakers.
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