in Cahors, Christophe Laporte hit the jackpot for French cycling

In this Tour de France 2022, Jumbo-Visma takes care of everything, don’t worry. When France despaired of seeing one of its own raise its arms, the Dutch team appointed Christophe Laporte to save the honor of the host country and win 19e stage of Cahors, Friday 22 July.

To get the hearts that remain indifferent to his general cycling, the yellow jersey team, Jonas Vingegaard, could not have dreamed better. “I think it’s the first French victory, so I’m happy for all the French”fell upon the arrival of one of the sports directors of the Dutch formation, Grischa Niermann.

Also read: Christophe Laporte raised his arms in Cahors, first tricolor victory in this Tour de France

From Castelnau-Magnoac (Hautes-Pyrénées), however, the plan is not to end this 38 stages of scarcity for tricolor cycling, fanny since the victory of Julian Alaphilippe in Landerneau (Finistère) in 2021. “The tactic is to protect Jonas first [Vingegaard]Niermman assured. We know there is wind and it can be a tough stage. »

For Christophe Laporte, this is the promise of a new difficult day for his yellow jersey. Not seriously. At 29, Varois knows the rules of the game since he arrived at Jumbo, at the start of the season. This role of the flamboyant team member, who can transform into a spare leader when the circumstances call for it, fits him like a glove. After all, he actually won his first World Tour race, the world elite, during the first stage of Paris-Nice last March with the blessing of Wout van Aert.

Smarter than sprinters

Wout and Christophe, these two met each other. Christophe Laporte saw the Belgian “like the best runner in the world” and this one is considered his right arm in the classics “like a good friend” on the microphone of France 2. And between friends, we tell each other everything.

On Friday, the green jersey told him that there was “heavy legs”. Yes, that happens when you’re exhausted in three weeks and you’ve tried all the climbers in the old peloton. So Wout van Aert let go of Laporte, once Jonas Vingegaard warmed up in the last three kilometers.

Previously, there was this attack that Tadej Pogacar did not see or know about 35 kilometers from the finish, but the Slovenian likes to joke. There is nothing else. Often deprived of the dessert in this Tour for their taste, the sprinters are preparing to finally explain themselves between big legs and crazy steering wheels.

Christophe Laporte said the rest. “At three kilometers, Jonas was well placed and the headset told me that I had carte blanche… After a small chicane, there was a small break, I did the work to go there. » The former Cofidis team returned to the dream of the last three fugitives (Alexis Gougeard, Fred Wright and Jasper Stuyven) and delayed his attack. Smart. He even benefited a little from their wish “before giving everything in 500 meters” and ahead of Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck), first of the beaten sprinters, by one second.

Right decision at right time, “to be taken in a fraction of a second”, the one who sometimes lacks this talent for a long time burdened by his doubts and an often visible shyness. In Grande Boucle like some classics, Christophe Laporte always returns. In Pau in 2018, he was angered by the death in the middle of the bike from Arnaud Démare after a stormy sprint. Same regret three years later, when he hesitated to respond to Matej Mohoric’s attack and still needed 2e Places called Libourne in the United States.

“The guy from the South who loves cobblestones”

At that time, the native of La Seyne-sur-Mer was already talking to the leaders of Jumbo. He felt the need for a change of scenery, to put himself in danger. Some are crying foul. Christophe Laporte deserves better than a servant, they say. The interested party gives his answer to the bike. He has never been so strong this spring: he missed the jackpot twice in the Flandrian classics (2e in Ghent-Wevelgem and the E3 Grand Prix).

“My time at Jumbo contributed 100% to my victory today, he said. It’s been a lot of work over the last two months: I spent six weeks training at altitude before the Tour de France, it’s a big preparation, away from the family. Nothing is left to chance with this team – the preparation, nutrition, equipment…”

Alain Deloeil knows well the winner of the day. For eight years, the sports director of Cofidis was the “referente” for this defector from mountain biking. “So happy for him”the Northerner saw him again in training at the start of the 2014 season: “He has this carefree air. He is the guy from the South but loves the cobblestones, the classics. He found his way, improved every year to win his first stage of the Tour. »

It would be a shame if he arrived a few months after he left. Alain Delœil has nothing against Jumbo and his greed (five stages, a green jersey and a yellow jersey in the shop): “We should copy them more than criticize them. » If Christophe Laporte already has ideas in Dutch to translate the instructions for use, French cycling only asks to read them.

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