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Polynormand - 1.1
France, July 31, 2005
Tour speed for Philippe Gilbert
By Jean-François Quénet in St-Martin-de-Landelle
Year after year, cycling reproduces a fact: one week after the end of the Tour de France, a rider who has done it has something extra in his legs than another rider who was only training - even hard - in July. But there is a big need for a special mental strength when it's logical to feel sick of cycling.
Out of the four Tour de France riders who started the Polynormande, two of them finished 1st and 2nd. Before the race, Philippe Gilbert made clear that it wasn't his first choice to be there, but the young Belgian is a top professional. "Being the leader of the French cup and the best young rider of the French cup in a team that leads the team competition, I just had to do it for my sponsor, although I would have preferred to race in Hamburg," he said.
Gilbert, 23, is an ambitious rider. He wants to make it at the highest level. Upon his request, he wasn't scheduled for the Tour de France this year. But after a crash in April while training, he wasn't up for the Giro d'Italia any more. So then he got his first start at the Tour de France instead. He did well, finishing fifth on two occasions: in Mulhouse on Michael Rasmussen's big day and in Pau after climbing the Aubisque. "I'm happy with my debut in the Tour de France but I still think I'm more of a one-day rider," he underlined.
In Normandy, Gilbert scored his fifth win of the year, the two previous ones being legs of the French cup: the Tour du Haut-Var in February and the Trophée des Grimpeurs in May. With A Travers le Morbihan in late May and the Boucles de l'Aulne in late August being cancelled this year due to financial troubles, the French cup only has two races left now, and it will be a battle between Gilbert and Ag2r's Ludovic Turpin at GP of Isbergues and Paris-Bourges.
"I think these races suit me more than him," Gilbert believes.
"For me winning the overall, I need Gilbert not to start," Turpin reckons.
That means the successor of Thor Hushovd will very likely be another great foreigner from a French team.
Gilbert attacked from a group of four comprising Lloyd Mondory (Ag2r), Noan Lelarge (Bretagne-Jean Floc'h) and Staf Scheirlinckx (Cofidis) with 35 kilometres to go. The last chance for a group to come across to him collapsed when Leonardo Bertagnolli of Cofidis punctured. "I went with Turpin, but Gilbert had made a clear gap already, I'm not sure if we could have caught him," the Italian admitted.
"Although I knew my advantage was enough, I kept going flat out in case of a puncture who occur for me as well," Gilbert added. "I sat up only at 400 metres to go, to give myself some time to enjoy the victory. Even if I wasn't to keen to come here, a win is always great, and I know how much the cycling enthusiasts are connoisseurs in this part of the world."
That's why the Polynormande attracted a big crowd without big names on the start line. The race was organised by Tour de France speaker Daniel Mangeas in his village of St-Martin-de-Landelle where the start of Karsten Kroon's Bastille Day of glory in Plouay in 2002 was held.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jean-Francois Quenet
Images by Régis Garnier/www.velofotopro.fr.st
1 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Française des Jeux 3.38.39 (43.082 km/h) 2 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2r 0.53 3 Mickaël Buffaz (Fra) Agritubel 4 Angel Castresana SPA MrBookmaker 0.55 5 Leonardo Bertagnolli (Ita) Cofidis 6 Samuel Plouhinec (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 0.58 7 Yoann Leboulanger (Fra) RAGT 1.17 8 Arnaud Labbe (Fra) Auber 93 9 Leonardo Duque (Col) Jartazi 10 Johan Coenen (Bel) MrBookmaker 11 Carl Naibo (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 12 Frédéric Mainguenaud (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 13 Lloyd Mondory (Fra) Ag2r 14 Francesco Bellotti (Ita) Crédit Agricole 15 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Crédit Agricole 16 Frédéric Guesdon (Fra) Française des Jeux 17 Staf Scheirlinckx (Bel) Cofidis 18 Jérémy Roy (Fra) Française des Jeux 19 Hubert Dupont (Fra) RAGT 20 Noan Lelarge (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 21 Christophe Thébault (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 22 Christophe Le Mével (Fra) Crédit Agricole 23 Ben Day (Aus) MrBookmaker 24 Laurent Paumier (Fra) MrBookmaker 25 Christophe Agnolutto (Fra) Agritubel 26 Sébastien Duret (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 27 Dimitri Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis 28 Maxime Médérel (Fra) Auber 93 29 Arnaud Lesvenan (Fra) French national team 30 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 1.24 31 Mickaël Malle (Fra) French national team 1.27 32 Vladislav Borisov (Rus) Omnibike 33 Mikhail Timochin (Rus) Omnibike 1.31 34 Eric Berthou (Fra) RAGT 1.35 35 Heath Blackgrove (NZl) Jartazi 9.02 36 Cédric Coutouly (Fra) Agritubel 9.47 37 David Bréard (Fra) Auber 93 38 Franck Renier (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 39 Alex Coutts (GBr) Flanders 40 Nicolas Cosbie (Fra) Agritubel 41 Camille Bouquet (Fra) MrBookmaker 42 Peter Ronsse (Bel) Jartazi 43 Viatcheslav Vilkov (Rus) Omnibike 44 Robby Meul (Bel) Jartazi 45 Benoît Salmon (Fra) Agritubel 46 Bingen Fernandez SPA Cofidis 47 Julien Mazet (Fra) Auber 93 48 Guillaume Auger (Fra) RAGT 49 Antoine Dalibard (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 50 Ben Johnson (Aus) Agritubel 51 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom 52 Niels Brouzes (Fra) Auber 93 53 Florian Guillou (Fra) French national team 54 Olivier Bonnaire (Fra) French national team 55 David Lelay (Fra) Bretagne-Jean Floc’h 56 Mickaël Delage (Fra) Française des Jeux 57 Freddy Bichot (Fra) Française des Jeux 58 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) Crédit Agricole 59 Arnaud Gérard (Fra) Française des Jeux 60 Nicolas Inaudi (Fra) Cofidis 61 William Bonnet (Fra) Auber 93 62 Igor Abkoumov (Bel) Jartazi 63 Jussi Veikkanen (Fin) Française des Jeux 64 Philip Deignan (Irl) Ag2r 65 John Nilsson (Swe) Auber 93 66 Styn Penne (Bel) Jartazi 67 Yannick Talabardon (Fra) Crédit Agricole 68 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Crédit Agricole 69 Cyrille Monnerais (Fra) Française des Jeux 70 Amaël Moinard (Fra) Cofidis 71 Nicolas Roche (Fra) Cofidis 72 Christophe Diguet (Fra) French national team 73 Damien Monier (Fra) Cofidis 74 Saul Raisin (USA) Crédit Agricole
Coupe de France standings after round 12