Valentin Madouas won the French road cycling championship on Sunday June 25, dominating in Cassel, in the North, a peloton tortured by the heat and by the armada of Groupama-FDJ. The man in the shadows of the team of Thibaut Pinot or even David Gaudu was able to find the light, on a bumpy and brittle course, 224 kilometers long.
At 26, the native of Brest was accompanied successively by his teammates, who placed him on the ramp to conclude the last 20 kilometers alone.
A fairly logical end, given the race strategy implemented by the team led by Marc Madiot. With a frantic pace at the front, the riders in blue tunics took advantage of a difficult route, as much as the heat, to wring the peloton. A paying choice, since only 21 of the 141 starters were able to reach the finish line.
The “Breton tractor”, as his friends and teammates call him, thus inherited the tricolor tunic after 5 hours 41 minutes and 13 hundredths of an effort. He succeeds Florian Sénéchal (Soudal Quick-Step), survivor of this race in line, and antepenultimate to cross the line. Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) and Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) took second and third places in the event.
Read also: Cycling: Thomas Pidcock wins the Strade Bianche ahead of Valentin Madouas
The leaders in difficulty
As for the favorites announced for the exercise, such as Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal Quick-Step) or Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), the race has reserved a completely different destiny for them. Starting with the 2020 and 2021 world champion, quickly set back, then forced to let go, after more than 100 kilometers traveled.
At 33, Thibaut Pinot, who is carrying out his cycling last stand – the Franc-Comtois has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2023 season –, managed to take the reins of the championship for a time, before be left behind, about fifty kilometers from the finish. The Vosgien, a great help for the winner of the day, however came to the end of the event, taking 7th place, 4 minutes and 45 seconds after his teammate.
A few moments after his celebration, Valentin Madouas did not fail to praise the work of his team: “I would like to thank all my teammates, the team staff, the mechanics […] it’s thanks to thembreathed the Brestois. The victory, the jersey, it’s me who will wear it all season… For me, it’s a dream. I have been waiting for years to be champion of France. »
And this moment, the Groupama-FDJ rider already had it in mind, long before starting in Hazebrouck on Sunday, he who had already worn the tricolor outfit in 2016, in the lower category: “For two years that I know that the course is here, I think only of this championship. I did it as an amateur, it was a wonderful moment, but with the pros…”
Less than a week from the Tour de France 2023 (which will be held from July 1 to 23), the collective strength of Groupama-FDJ, the team of the new French champion impresses; David Gaudu and Thibaut Pinot, leaders in different roles, showed more than encouraging signs on the roads of the North. While waiting for the first stage, which will start in Bilbao in Spain, Valentin Madouas can savor his national title, the colors of which he will wear on Saturday on the roads of the Tour.
Remco Evenepoel and Tadej Pogacar crowned
A rainbow in black-yellow-red: reigning world champion Remco Evenepoel became Belgian road race champion on Sunday 25 June. On the flat course of Izegem, a priori favorable to sprinters, the “little cannibal” won the prestigious duel opposing him to his great rival Wout van Aert by signing his eighth success of the season.
He won in the sprint ahead of his breakaway companion, the young (20) Alec Segaert, already vice-champion of Belgium in the time trial on Thursday. Evenepoel who had fallen during this event against the clock won in Herzele by… Van Aert therefore took a resounding revenge.
For his part, Tadej Pogacar did a double blow. After the time trial on Thursday, the double winner of the Tour de France won Sunday in the road race of the Slovenian road cycling championships one week before the start of the Grande Boucle. This is the 24-year-old rider’s first national title in this event, after already three successes in the time trial (2019, 2020 and 2023).
On Thursday, Pogacar made his return to competition after his fall and broken wrist on April 23 during the classic Liège-Bastogne-Liège.