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"The first goal is reached. I have to continue my work. I hope to return to a professional continental team or even a WorldTour team. I am at the best point of my career."

Photo: DPPI Press / Faugère-Curutchet

JULIEN LOUBET

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LA POMME MARSEILLE

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PARIS-CAMEMBERT

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06.04.2015 @ 13:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Former pro Julien Loubet (Marseille) proved that he still has the skills to mix it up with the best when he took a hugely impressive win in the old French one-day race Paris-Camembert. Having attacked with the in-form Pierrick Fedrigo (Bretagne) on the final climb, he managed to hold off the peloton before beating his companion on the two-rider sprint before Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r) led the bunch across the line just seconds later.

 

For several year, Julien Loubet was a loyal domestique at the Ag2r-La Mondiale team and he gave several indications of his talent during his time with the French tea. In 2008 he finished fourth overall in the Vuelta a Burgos and in 2010 he won a stage and finished third overall in the Tropicale Amissa Bongo.

 

After the 2011 season, however, his contract was not renewed and disappeared into anonymity in the French amateur scene. However, he showed signs of his talent last year when he won two stages and the overall at the Tour du Maroc and this was enough for the continental Marseille team to give him a chance.

 

This year Loubet has grabbed that opportunity with both hands as he has been one of the strongest in the French races in the early part of the season. He left a very strong impression in February where he even came close to a big win when he finished second behind Eduardo Sepulveda (Bretagne) in the Classic Sud-Ardeche.

 

Today he is excellent climbing form finally paid off when he won the 76th edition of the big French one-day race Paris-Camembert which was also the fifth round of the Coupe de France race series. Again he made the difference on the climbs and unlike in Sud-Ardeche, he wasn’t denied in the sprint when he arrived at the finish with a Bretagne rider.

 

"I am very happy, it is especially great that I managed to beat a rider like Pierrick Fedrigo," he told Directvelo. "He is very strong now. I am very happy to win in front of him. He is a big rider. He has had a great career, and ihe is still there. 

 

"For several races, we have been present. This is the result of the teamwork. To win a Coupe de France race is important. That was the goal. We went close with Benjamin Giraud in Corsica. Today I had good legs. I feel I'm getting stronger. 

 

"I knew this event. I had done it twice. I knew it suited my qualities as a puncheur. This is one of the most difficult French classics. These are my favorite races, with a finale for puncheurs. The race was calm in the first part with a long breakaway of three riders that got more than ten minutes. It was caught in the finale. FDJ did a great job, they blew the race apart twenty kilometers from the finish. There were two climbs. They helped make the difference. Again, I love these courses, the climbs allow me to make a difference.

 

"The final difficulties were very steep, they were good to make a selection. I knew how to do it. I attacked while we were only seven in the lead. I felt very good. We were three left, Pierrick Fedrigo and Jan Bakelants were with me. It was better not to be alone because of the headwind. I did not see when Bakelants got dropped. I thought I was slower in the sprint than Pierrick Fedrigo. It came down to freshness, he was a little more tired than me. I'm glad I could win. This is one of my best victories."

 

"It's true [that I was again up against a Bretagne rider]. I started the sprint ahead of Eduardo Sepulveda. Today, I really calculated my efforts. I was in a better condition, with exceptional legs. I was with a rider who was difficult to beat. I still said there was a good chance. I do not want to have regrets. So I gave everything. I would have liked to change things is Sud-Ardeche but I had to take the opportunity.

 

"From Friday to Sunday, I will do  the Circuit des Ardennes (2.2). We will be there with ambitions. The goal? To win with me or another rider from the team. We have a good group. There will be a team time trial. My victory takes the pressure off the team but you have to win other races too. Many teammates also deserve to raise their arms. Then I will do the Four Days of Dunkirk. 

 

"The first goal is reached. I have to continue my work. I hope to return to a professional continental team or even a WorldTour team. I am at the best point of my career. It is important to participate in the best races. But I would first like to thank Frédéric Rostaing who gave me my chance in 2015. This victory is for him."

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