It’s called a blackboard. For now, everything is going wonderfully for Groupama-FDJ, organized around its young leader David Gaudu. As the Tour arrives on the 25-year-old climber’s favorite terrain on Friday at the Planche des Belles Filles, the small Breton has passed all the pitfalls of the first week of racing without incident.
Consistent on the inaugural time trial, where he limited the breakage on his direct competitors, Gaudu crossed Denmark in the warmth, protected by his teammates, before coming out like a leader on the cobblestones of the North on Wednesday. In front of the whole day, in the wheel of his Jedi master Stefan Kung, he only gave up time to Tadej Pogacar. Like everyone. “I wanted to know what I was worth on the cobbles because I had never done it in my life. I was surprised, ”he admitted in the evening.
Longwy to Gaudu
This Thursday, we saw him again at the front, on the last climb before the finish in Longwy. Only he and Michael Matthews were able to stay at a reasonable distance when the Slovenian moped passed the second 250 meters from the line. Result, a nice 3rd place, in front of customers: Pidcock, Vingegaard, Martinez or Roglic. Good for confidence.
“The week has gone well so far. The team did a great job. We are aware of what has to be done, we are focused, everyone is working, debriefed Gaudu once the line was crossed. Today [jeudi] it was a very hard stage, it went very fast. Everyone was started in the final, I managed to take Roglic’s wheel but he crashed, and Pogacar was too strong. But it’s tomorrow that it will be played. It’s a new Tour de France that begins. »
The first mountain thrills indeed await the runners at the top of the Planche, climbed in “Super” mode (an additional kilometer of climb, with percentages of more than 20% and an unpaved part). Up there, it will be for the strong, and Gaudu will be able to gauge himself against the competition. In any case, 10th overall 30 seconds from the lead (we leave Pogacar apart, alone in his world), he is exactly where he wanted to be when he arrived on this 7th stage.
Thibaut Pinot too. Landed on the Tour as a lieutenant, the former leader of the French formation is aiming for nothing other than a stage victory. And for that, the best tactic remains to waste time in general so as not to represent a threat to anyone. Miraculously rescued from the right group on Wednesday on the cobblestones – a Belgian tractor in a yellow jersey was passing by – Tibo finished coasting, 2’45 behind the best at Longwy. History to keep under the elbow for the future. It will help him, but probably not on Friday, even if the Board is on climb.
“We work as a team, we run as a team. Exit vouchers are good when the situation is settled, for the moment it is not, replied boss Marc Madiot to the question of a possible exit voucher. We are not here to dynamite the race. The headliner remains David Gaudu, and for now Groupama-FDJ is sticking to its plan.
The Super Board to make a great plan a reality?
“The goal is for David to stay in contact with the best every day, in all the difficult finishes. If we are able to do that, we will be in a good place overall in Paris, developed Madiot a little later, on RMC. Afterwards, what place, it also depends on the competition, what there may be as a mishap for one or the other. Hoping not to know any on our side. It will take a bit of luck, but success we have to try to put on our side too, thanks to a good group. This is the state of mind we are in. “But therefore, if Pinot takes Gaudu for a double, it works, doesn’t it? We know, we know…