It’s not a war, not even a little game between them. Thursday, Romain Bardet was one second ahead of David Gaudu for the title of best Frenchman overall. After the first arrival at altitude, the youngest dislodged his eldest, now sixth with one place and… one second behind him. Both have resisted well on the Super Planche des Belles Filles, and on the side of Groupama-FDJ we maintain the hope of the podium, the declared objective of the band at Madiot before the start.
No, Thibaut Pinot could not, or rather did not want to take the breakaway of the day towards “his” climb of the Planche. Marc Madiot, his manager, admitted that the Franc-Comtois had carte blanche if a “large group” of about twenty units came out. That was not the case but the few efforts made prevented him from playing the other role which was allocated to him: that of guardian angel of his young leader. Pinot s is disappointed but it was not enough to take away the smiles of the men in blue-white-red at the top of the Planche.
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“A good day on arrivalJudge David Gaudu. I had good feelings, correct, not necessarily the best there are. It’s a fifth place of the favorites, you have to stay focused“. In the middle of the ascent, the pocket climber even had enough guts to come up to Tadej Pogacar whose team was leading the way. For a short time, before resuming “his” place further in If he was a little too fair, like many others, to follow Vingegaard’s attack and Pogacar’s counterattack, the Frenchman got away with 19 seconds of disbursements, nothing dishonorable, therefore. “David made a nice climbpoints out Philippe Mauduit. He was where we expected him. We see that he is clearly among the very best in this kind of arrival“.
“There are two runners who seemed to me to be over the top in the last mile, the first two“, pointed Marc Madiot to our microphone. “For now, Pogacar and Vingegaard are above“, abounded a few moments later Valentin Madouas to that of France TV. No one in the tricolor team ever imagined Gaudu fighting with the first two of the Tour 2021, probably one or even two notches above everyone in the mountains. The objective of the podium could have been summed up in third place. And for the moment, this is still in the sights of the French rider, at 21 seconds precisely.
“We are where we wanted to be”: Marc Madiot’s satisfaction after the Planche des Belles FIlles
“I’m satisfied, we are where we wanted to becontinues Madiot. We can also do third or tenth. There are a lot of runners quite close to each other so that if we don’t make a mistake and we don’t have a bad run, we can get something goodThe reading of the general classification, where nine men, from Geraint Thomas to Nairo Quintana, stand in 56 seconds, confirms Madiot’s statements.
Watch out for a new episode like in Ventoux in 2021
“I think the goal is achievable and we believe in it. David is able to do a beautiful thing“, still advances an excellent Madouas in the Vosges. Overall, the Groupama-FDJ team is making an excellent start to the Tour de France around its leader who has never been trapped. And towards the Super Board, its guards of the corps were still present.The proof, even if all this is very anecdotal, Groupama-FDJ finished 3rd in the stage in the team ranking behind Jumbo and INEOS.
“The team did a great job, both at the start of the stage and with Michael Storer who did a great job on the last climb“, appreciates Gaudu. The Australian had however had a difficult start to the Grande Boucle. A well thought-out tactic according to Marc Madiot: “The team is doing well. I especially note that Storer was with him until one kilometer from the finish. I think a lot of people may have thought that Storer was the ‘laggard’ in the early days, we were saving him for here, these arrivals, he is present at the rendezvous. It’s good.”
And now ? David Gaudu will have to stay at these heights, and even grab some more time, if he wants to get on the podium. “The Tour is just beginning, it was only the first test. We are delighted with the start of the Tour but the hardest part is comingThe hardest part will probably not displease the French. But beware of the day without: in 2021, Gaudu was 10th overall before taking 25 minutes in the double ascent of Ventoux. Such a debacle would obviously still be synonymous with dashed podium hopes.
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