The (new) misfortunes of Thibaut Pinot on the last Grande Boucle combined with the performances of David Gaudu on the roads of the Vuelta (two stage successes, an 8th place in the general classification) ultimately left little room for doubt: the passing of power, let’s call it that, was recorded by videoconference on Tuesday at lunchtime.
In a role of co-leader
Three years later, Pinot (soon 31 years old) will return to assault the Giro at the beginning of May, and Gaudu (24 years old since October) will logically succeed him on the Tour 2021 (starting from Brest) where all the pressure will not however rest on his climbing shoulders. “We will have two men in pole position,” confirms Marc Madiot, the team’s general manager. Absent last year, Arnaud Démare, the most prolific rider in the peloton in 2020 (14 victories, including four in the Giro d’Italia,) will thus share the leadership of Groupama-FDJ, which does not displease the rider Breton.
“On the flat stages, where there will be risks of edges, I will try to take advantage of Arnaud’s group who knows how to manage this well (Editor’s note: the two men will already be associated, in mid-March, during Paris- Nice) and in the mountains, it will then be done by pedaling ”, explains the climber from Landivisiau without venturing to speak of a targeted objective. “Of course I would like to finish in the top 10. Now I’m not going to take the lead with the general classification either. I am going to try to set out again on the same dynamic as in the Vuelta, I will try to please myself as much as possible, and we will see where all this takes me. Come what may, ”he adds, aware of the new expectations he arouses.
” The yellow jersey ? Yes, we think about it … “
To escape this pressure which will only increase and which never succeeded in his predecessor, David Gaudu does not speak of Paris, which does not prevent him from mentioning Landerneau and Mûr-de-Bretagne, the two first stage finishes which correspond to its explosive qualities. And where he will grow in his garden. ” The yellow jersey ? Yes, of course, we think about it (he voluntarily uses the indefinite pronoun). In Ripe, anything can happen… ”, continues David Gaudu who, in the wake of his fourth participation in the biggest race in the world, hopes to be selected for the French team for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Before that, he will start his next season with the Tour du Haut-Var (19-February), the Drôme-Ardèche Loops, Paris-Nice (alongside Arnaud Démare, therefore) which will be a first objective, the classics. Ardennes and the Dauphiné. His turn will then have come.
Madouas: the Tour and the extension
Valentin Madouas will be aligned alongside Arnaud Démare and David Gaudu on the 2021 Tour. Before that, the one who has just extended his contract with Groupama-FDJ for three years (until 2024), will notably play Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour of Flanders and the Ardennes classics.