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"There was no designated leader today. We attacked in turn. I got away with Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Dried Environment). It's a shame that we were only two," Pichon says

Photo: A.S.O.






15.04.2014 @ 23:20 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Laurent Pichon usually plays a crucial role in the lead-out train that has delivered Nacer Bouhanni to so many victories but today the Frenchman got a chance to race for himself in the hilly Paris-Camembert. Having struggled with injury for most of the season, he returned to form with a very solid third place in the race.


Last year FDJ completely dominated the month of April in France as they won almost all the many one-day races in the Coupe de France race series that litter the middle part of the sprint. This year, however, they have had a harder time and so far they haven't won a single race in the season-long series.


Today they were again underdogs in the fifth round, the hilly Paris-Camembert, despite lining up the defending champion Pierrick Fedrigo. And again they failed to come away with the win despite placing no less than five riders in the 28-rider group that sprinted for the win.


With the race coming down to a sprint from that small group, the team chose to play the card of Laurent Pichon. The Frenchman is both a solid puncheur and fast finisher but usually plays a role as one of the final men in the lead-out train of Nacer Bouhanni.


Today he got the chance to sprint for himself but being up against one of France's leading sprint stars, Bryan Coquard, he was always ecpected to come up short. Having also struggled with injuries in the past few months, he was pleased to come away with third.


"I'm happy to finish on the podium," he told Directvelo. "I struggled a lot early in the season after my crash at the Etoile de Bessèges. I did the Circuit de la Sarthe last week, the sensations were not exceptional but it did me good. 


"There was no designated leader today. We attacked in turn. I got away with Anthony Delaplace (Bretagne-Dried Environment). It's a shame that we were only two. If we had been three or four, we might have stayed away.


"I felt good on the climbs. I tried to sprint despite my previous efforts. Anthony Geslin came to me 500m from the line. We decided that he would lead me out. Bryan Coquard was in a class of his own. I thought I would be boxed in but I got clear and was simply beaten. 


"I will do the next three rounds. At [Thurday's] Denain, I will work for Nacer. This weekend, I'll be on home soil at the Tour du Finistère and the Tro Bro Leon. I really want to do well.



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