Tour de France: Guillaume Martin defends the record of the French

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With only one stage victory on the eve of the arrival in Paris, the French will leave this Tour 2021 with a mixed record, but defended by its leaders.

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Everything had started for the best, with a victory for Julian Alaphilippe, from the first stage at Landerneau. Then, nothing more: no Frenchman raised his arms or wore the first yellow during the three weeks which followed, as we approach the end of this Tour de France 2021, Sunday. At the time of the assessment, the various headliners of French cycling refuse to judge this Grande Boucle as a failure.

Three French in the top 15

“I do not find the record so bad, assures Guillaume Martin, leader of Cofidis. We have three riders in the top 15, I do not think that is the case for many nations, even the Slovenes … So finally, we is not that bad. ” The French indeed achieved a nice group shot in the general standings: apart from Martin’s 8th place, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) took 11th place and Aurélien Paret-Peintre (AG2R Citroën), 15th, for his first Tour. But none have ever seemed able to play the podium. To the radius of satisfaction, we must also add the price of the super-combative, awarded to Franck Bonnamour this Saturday.

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“It’s still a decent Tour for the French, with a victory and a yellow jersey, also relativizes Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ). We cannot say that it is missed. There is a very high level, we do what we could, we tried, we tried. That’s how it is, there are only 21 stages. When you remove those of Mark Cavendish (4 victories since the start), there is nothing left not much more. “

A training in question

“Cycling is much more globalized now, with riders coming from all over the place, rebounds Benoît Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroën). The Tour is no longer only European and that creates density. We see that the averages are much higher, it proves the level of the peloton, the victories are harder to seek. “

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Often at the front since the start of the Tour, Cosnefroy partly explains these results, which are at best mitigated, by the specificities of the French team. “I think that compared to other countries, we are perhaps behind in terms of training, he elaborates. Our young people are not as ready as others to start in the professionals. They come out in on the other hand with a background at school level, and that’s a good thing, it must be a source of pride for France. Even if it means that the performances come a little later. “

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Corentin Parbaud Journalist RMC Sport

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