“Less solidarity in the gruppetto”

Published on : 17/09/2020 – 02:05

Since the start from Nice, Pierre-Luc Périchon has been RFI’s eye inside the peloton. In this 6th episode of his diaries, the road captain of the Cofidis team, just shortlisted for the World Championships, talks about life in the gruppetto, the mini peloton where those who cannot follow the best meet. mountain climbers.

In the small papers of the coach

“I learned yesterday (Wednesday) my preselection for the road race for the World Championships (note: in Italy, September 27). It had been in the pipes for a few days, Cédric Vasseur, my sporting director had mentioned it, and Thomas Voeckler (the national coach) then told me. I’m not getting excited, because the final list of 8 riders will be known next Saturday, but it’s already a mark of confidence, a recognition of the work accomplished since the start of this Tour de France alongside my leader Guillaume Martin . Physically, I may not be the strongest in this first selection, but as Guillaume should be part of the adventure, he will need to be supported. We are used to working together, my condition is good, so it could be interesting. If I go, it won’t be to play my card, but as on the Tour in a role of team member, for my usual leader and for all the leaders of the France team. I’m ready to take to the plank! “

A day in the back

“Today, the stage reached the Col de la Loze, an unprecedented and terrible climb. I knew her for having scouted, but in the race it’s even harder! I finished in a little group very supplied, with more than half of the peloton. The little group brings together different types of riders, mainly team members who can no longer support their leaders at the front, and of course sprinters, who have difficulty passing passes and must protect themselves in view of more favorable stages. The goal is to arrive together on time. There is a form of mutual aid that takes hold in this group, but less than in other years. Today, the race is harder, and when it is harder, solidarity has its limits. If a rider needs a can, and his car is not nearby, we’ll get him one, but we’re not going to drive for him either. It’s still different when we find ourselves in a small little group :yesterday (Wednesday), for example, I found myself with about fifteen runners, everyone was passing their batches to reach the finish. That’s the number one goal, and when you hear that a runner is out of time, it’s always a bit sad. It happened to Jérôme Cousin yesterday, and I was really disappointed for him because he is a warrior. “

In the gruppetto, not always la dolce vita

“There is an atmosphere that can be relaxed in the little group, but with limits. I’m a pretty talkative and joker, and not the least at ease in general, so I sometimes let go of little nonsense, but not everyone likes it. I collect “Ta gu …!” »From those who are more to the block and who do not want to joke. A little anecdote: in the Pyrenees, I used to laugh with Pierre Latour, telling him: ‘I didn’t come here to suffer, OK’, and I thought about a runner who was really suffering. More generally, there are fewer and fewer teasers in the peloton. I get along well with a lot of runners, but I mess around especially with Pierre Latour, we share the same delusions. “


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