Left alone about twenty kilometers from the end, Valentin Madouas became champion of France for the first time in his career, at almost 27 years old, this Sunday in Cassel in the North. The Groupama-FDJ rider brought his team’s work to a brilliant conclusion throughout the day.
Valentin Madouas will wear the blue-white-red jersey on the Tour de France from next Saturday! The soon-to-be 27-year-old rider successfully completed a race perfectly mastered by his team, Groupama-FDJ, which had 18 riders at the start, in Cassel in the North, and which had a dream Sunday, even winning a double with the second place of Ruy Molard. Team boss Marc Madiot may even have dreamed of the hat-trick when he saw David Gaudu attacking 27 kilometers from the finish and only being followed by Madouas and Molard. But the fourth in the last Tour de France gave everything by passing the relays for three kilometers, before getting up.
Madouas then left alone 21 kilometers from the finish, and was not worried by the competition. Only his bike played tricks on him when his chain jumped thirteen kilometers from the end, but he had enough of a lead to change bikes and take the win. The Brestois still had some in his legs, unlike all the other runners, extremely tired at the finish of this 224 kilometer road race, where fifteen laps enamelled by two large climbs (that of the Porte de Dunkerque and that of the Porte d’Aire) were on the program, i.e. 4300m of elevation gain.
Madouas has almost always been in front
Outnumbered, as is often the case during the road race in the French championships, the Groupama-FDJ team was omnipresent throughout the day. After about thirty kilometers, they were already eight in the group of 22 parties at the forefront, including Madouas, Gaudu and Molard, but also the future retiree Thibaut Pinot and the great hope Romain Grégoire. Madouas was almost always in front during this race. 80 kilometers from the goal, he was present in a group of seven (with Elie Gesbert or even Dorian Godon), then 50 kilometers from the finish, he was in another group of seven, this time with riders like Clément Champoussin or Tony Gallopin.
It was then David Gaudu who unleashed the decisive attack by coming back to full force on this group at the 200th kilometer, before Groupama-FDJ set off in a three-man team time trial. The victory of Marc Madiot’s team was already no longer in doubt, and it is therefore Valentin Madouas who offers himself the sixth victory of his career, the most beautiful. His father Laurent, a former cyclist with Castorama, Motorola or even Festina, winner of a stage in the Dauphiné 1999, had much to be proud of on the finish line. His son is champion of France!
Alaphilippe victim of a heatstroke
If the team created in 1997 wins its ninth title of French road race champion with Madouas (after Vogondy in 2002, Bouhanni in 2012, Vichot in 2013 and 2016, Démare in 2014, 2017 and 2020 and Roux in 2018), this Sunday will however remain to be forgotten for Cofidis, which has still not won a title in 27 participations (Anthony Perez 9th this Sunday)and for Julian Alaphilippe, who was favorite but retired after suffering a heat stroke and vomiting. This little world has one week left to get back on its feet before the big start of the Tour!
FRENCH CHAMPIONSHIPS (M) / CASSEL (NORTH)
Ranking of the road race (224km) – Sunday June 25, 2023
1- Valentin Madouas (Groupama-FDJ) in 5’41″13
2- Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) at 1’49
3- Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) at 1’57
4- Tony Gallopin (Trek-Segafredo) at 2’13
5- Nans Peters (AG2R-Citroën) at 3’29
6- Elie Gesbert (Arkéa-Samsic) at 4’05
7- Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) at 4’45
8- Matis Louvel (Arkéa-Samsic) at 5″12
9- Anthony Perez (Cofidis) at 6’19
10- Maxime Jarnet (Van Rysel-Roubaix Lille Métropole) at 6’21