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Dillon Corkery is very upbeat after his first race of the season, saying he has wintered very well and was looking forward to the opportunities ahead

Dillon Corkery, the reigning Rás Tailteann champion, has made his debut for St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93, riding the traditional French road race season opener Grand Prix Cycliste de Marseille La Marseillaise (1.1).

The lumpy 167.5km race was won by Kevin Geniets (Groupama-FDJ) in a two-up sprint from Alex Baudin (Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale Team), after the field split on the climbs in the last 35km of the course.

Corkery, who is stepping up from elite French team CC Étupes last year for his first full season at UCI Continental level this year, told stickybottle yesterday’s race was a new experience for him.

He added when he got some more races into his legs, and was competing in events more suited to him, he was very hopeful chances would come his way.

“It was a really good day, very different to what I’m used to, I guess,” Corkery said. “But it’s exciting nonetheless and it gives me confidence now going into Etoile de Bessèges over the next week.

“Yesterday, a course like that is obviously not going to be suited to me. And I had a job to do; positioning our climbers into the bottom of the Route des Crêtes, which I did.”

“So the team is very content with the whole situation at the moment and I think Bessèges will give me a bit more opportunity, with a couple of sprint stages there.

“But I think I’ll probably be in a position again where I’ll be working (for others). But it’s the first couple of races of the year and I think I just need to show what I’m capable of doing in these races.

“And then hopefully my opportunities will come. It was definitely an exciting day yesterday and a really cool way to start the season. And I’m happy with how the training has gone and really looking forward to what’s to come.”

After playing his team role yesterday, to the base of the last major climb with just over 30km remaining, Corkery rode in to finish in 108th at 13:09.

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