2022, year zero for French cycling in the Grande Boucle? True, Christophe Laporte saved the honor by winning the Cahors stage three days from the finish, and David Gaudu finished in a solid fourth place in the general classification. The Varois of Jumbo and the Breton of the Groupama-FDJ team are like trees hiding in the forest.
In addition to the small harvest on the stages, the Tricolores were quickly expelled from the classifications for different jerseys (the yellow of the general leader, the white of the best youth in general, the green of best sprinter and the white with red dots the best climber ). Franceinfo takes the balance of the Blues after going through the Champs-Elysées, Sunday July 24.
Behind the only stage victory, a loss of good shots
It took a teammate of a cador, Christophe Laporte, who obtained an exit voucher from Jumbo-Visma in a transition period, for a French rider to raise his arms in this that Grande Boucle. The stage victories, without having to aim for a place in the general classification, despite the ambition shown by the French leaders (Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet, Warren Barguil…) before the great departure from Copenhagen. But not everything went as planned. The mountain, the usual playground of the French, refused them. And double world champion Julian Alaphilippe, the man who opened the counter, is sorely lacking this year.
In defense of tricolor cycling, we note that the best chance of the sprint, Arnaud Démare (three victories in the Giro in the spring), Nacer Bouhanni (convalescing after a fall), even Bryan Coquard (defeated by Covid-19 during the day. before the start), not to mention the situation of the team member in the yellow jersey of Christophe Laporte, do not make it possible to make a number in terms of podiums, unlike other years. So the weak number of places in the top 3 episodes.
Zero points also for different jerseys
More worryingly, no French rider has worn the yellow, white, green or polka dot jersey for three weeks. An innovation, compared to a recent past where the best climber’s tunic sometimes became a consolation goal for riders who lacked overall, like Romain Bardet, who won the 2019.
Let’s not just talk about the prosperous years when Thomas Voeckler offered the epics in yellow and when Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque made the polka dots tricolor preserve. Record of the type in 2004, where Voeckler accumulated yellow and white for ten days, when Virenque reigned in the peas in the second half of the race (winning this classification for the seventh time in ten years). Results that year: 35 different jerseys worn by a Frenchman in 21 seasons, compared to the total absence of Frenchmen for further classifications this year.
Even the price of combativeness was refused by the French
If we drop the general classification, the additional classifications, the stage wins, the good old breakaway remains “to show the shirt” (and the sponsor), just to cut the price of the fighting spirit . An honorary prize that rewards the most popular runner at each stage, awarded by a dedicated jury. At the end of the three-week race, a “super-combative” was also chosen, for all his work, especially in breakaways. But again, the Tricolores offer a little vintage this year.
It must be said that the big favorite for the final trophy remains the Belgian ogre Wout Van Aert, omnipresent, even almighty in this Tour and guaranteed to win the green jersey if he crosses the finish line on Sunday night in Paris. The most versatile rider in the peloton, to attack almost every day, also wears the yellow jersey at the start of the race and is not far from wearing the polka dot jersey at the end of the final mountain stage, Thursday in Hautacam.
Places in the top 10 in the final general classification as a consolation
To see the can as half full, you have to look at the general classification. Because in his temporary fourth place, winning with courage, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) achieved the best performance of a tricolor rider since the podiums of Romain Bardet (2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2017) behind the untouchable Christopher Froome. This year, this same Romain Bardet managed to join him in the top 10 with a good 8th place.