Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on

Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

 UCI codes explained

French Championships - CN

Chantonnay, France, June 22-25, 2006

Main Page    Results    Previous Day  

Day 3 - June 25: Elite men road race, 239.7 km

Florent Brard, the champion of ups and downs

By Jean-François Quénet in Chantonnay

Florent Brard wins
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

The French championship was held on Bouygues Telecom's home soil of Vendée and it wasn't a pleasure for Jean-René Bernaudeau's protégés to come second and third in the road race, just as they did three days earlier in the time trial behind their former golden boy Sylvain Chavanel. Thomas Voeckler, 2nd, looked even more devastated than Didier Rous, 3rd, on the day of glory for Florent Brard under the colours of Caisse d'Épargne, a French sponsor for a Spanish team that was initially supposed to co-sponsor Bouygues Telecom.

Brard's win was a symbol at the time of the cancellation of the national championship in the country of his employer. "France has had its revolution (in 1998), now it's up to Spain to do the same", he said. Brard was full of praise for the former staff of the famous Banesto squad. "I was ill at the first training camp," he recalled. "I couldn't ride higher than 25km/h, I got dropped on the flat and they told me to stay quiet, not to worry. They gave me an ideal plan for coming into form for the Tour de France. Here we are. I've heard it's fabulous to ride the Tour with the blue, white and red jersey."

Voeckler and Rous, two former French champions, confirmed it. But they were far from happy to have been beaten. "We have held on our shoulders the weight of the race," Voeckler said. "I thought I was the fastest of the three with Florent Brard and Christophe Moreau but I waited two seconds before reacting to Brard's attack and it was too late then, I didn't have any strength to get him back."

Voeckler (right) finished second
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

This is Brard's first major win since he claimed another French title back in 2001 in the time trial. "Today is probably the biggest moment of my career," he suggested. "My life is made of ups and downs. I've had a few ups… and many downs! Thanks to the downs, I'm able to appreciate the ups. I'm sure I'll love the coming weeks."

After his great 2001 season with Festina, Brard joined Crédit Agricole. In May 2002, he crashed when hitting the entry signal of the town of Decazeville during the Midi Libre. When he returned racing in August, he was found positive at the Tour de l'Ain because of the corticoids he was given for recovery. He eventually got cleared by a civil court but after being fired by Crédit Agricole he had no choice but go and race in Belgium for Marlux, then Chocolade Jacques, before coming back to a French team, Agritubel, for which he managed to finish 7th in Paris-Roubaix last year.

"I don't see this as a revenge," he said. "I cycle for myself. I really try my best to profit from the good time as a cyclist. I'm 30 now, damn, it goes fast!" France has a national champion who will be a very talkative one during the Tour.

The podium.
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

How it unfolded

The first of 17 laps of 14.1km each was covered slowly at 33.395 km/h and the first man to attack was Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom), 3km before the return to the start-finish line. He didn't last more than 2 km, though. A breakaway went with 19 riders after 20km of racing: Rémy Di Gregorio, Frédéric Finot and Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux), Nicolas Inaudi, Hervé Duclos-Lassalle, Fabien Sanchez and Tristan Valentin (Cofidis), Laurent Mangel, Lloyd Mondory and Christophe Riblon (Ag2r), Jimmy Engoulvent, Rémi Pauriol and Jean-Marc Marino (Crédit Agricole), Martias, Vincent Jérôme and Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom), Cédric Hervé (Bretagne-Jean Floc'h), Jean Mespoulède (Auber 93) and Stéphane Bergès (Agritubel).

During the fourth lap, they reached a maximum lead of 4'30. Almost none of them were designated riders for the Tour de France. They were sent away with no hope of winning but protecting their leaders. As Bouygues Telecom was racing on home soil with 25 riders, more than the other teams, they had to chase because they didn't trust Martias, Jérôme or Drancourt for the win.

Florent Brard leads the break
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

After 115km, Mourey attacked twice. The front group split up a few times. At km 141, six riders stayed away: Bergès, Di Gregorio, Drancourt, Riblon, Pauriol and Hervé. Six new ones came across: Eric Leblacher and Frédéric Guesdon (Française des Jeux), Yannick Talabardon (Crédit Agricole), Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), Christophe Kern (Bouygues Telecom) and Carl Naibo (Ag2r). Again, it was up to Bouygues Telecom to pace in front of the bunch.

After 160km, the escapees got caught. Christophe Agnolutto (Agritubel) replaced them at the front, saying goodbye to his fans through the video camera as this French championship might have been his last pro race, aged 37. At km 167, he was joined by Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom) and Christophe Moreau (Ag2r). Now it was Crédit Agricole chasing, mainly with Christophe Le Mével. Agnolutto was creeping on the hills. After 200km of racing, he had to let Voeckler and Moreau go away.

With 25km to go, the duo had 32 seconds lead on Nicolas Jalabert (Phonak), Florent Brard (Caisse d'Épargne), Christophe Mengin (Française des Jeux), Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis), Patrice Halgand (Crédit Agricole), Sylvain Calzati (Ag2r), Anthony Geslin and Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom), Cédric Coutouly and Agnolutto (Agritubel).

Said Haddou (Auber 93)
Photo ©: Régis Garnier
(Click for larger image)

With 18km to go, Brard surprised Rous and Geslin and bridged the gap by himself. He went solo again with 5km to go. Rous eventually rejoined Voeckler and Moreau but they never caught Brard who claimed his second pro French title after the time trial in 2001.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Régis Garnier/

Images by Jean-Francois Quenet


1 Florent Brard (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)            5.52.52
2 Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom)                           0.21
3 Didier Rous (Bouygues Telecom)                                   
4 Christophe Moreau (AG2R Prevoyance)                          0.22
5 Sylvain Calzati (AG2R Prevoyance)                            0.58
6 Sylvain Chavanel (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)          1.04
7 Nicolas Jalabert (Phonak Hearing Systems)                    1.14
8 Anthony Geslin (Bouygues Telecom)                          
9 Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole)                           
10 Christophe Mengin (Française des Jeux)                      1.38
11 Said Haddou (Auber 93)                                      2.32
12 Niels Brouzes (Auber 93)                                   
13 Sebastien Hinault (Credit Agricole)                        
14 Cedric Vasseur (Quick Step-Innergetic)                     
15 Cedric Herve (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)         
16 Benoit Vaugrenard (Française des Jeux)                     
17 Mickael Buffaz (Agritubel)                                 
18 Renaud Dion (AG2R Prevoyance)                              
19 Samuel Plouhinec (Agritubel)                               
20 Christophe Rinero (Saunier Duval-Prodir)                   
21 Noan Lelarge (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)         
22 Nicolas Portal (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)            
23 Pierrick Fedrigo (Bouygues Telecom)                        
24 Sandy Casar (Française des Jeux)                           
25 Cedric Coutouly (Agritubel)                                
26 Christophe Agnolutto (Agritubel)                            2.38
27 Benoit Salmon (Agritubel)                                  
28 Matthieu Sprick (Bouygues Telecom)                          2.42
29 Maxime Mederel (Auber 93)                                   3.00
30 Jerome Pineau (Bouygues Telecom)                      
31 Walter Beneteau (Bouygues Telecom)                          9.09
32 Lloyd Mondory (AG2R Prevoyance)                            
33 Jean - Luc Delpech (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)   
34 Hubert Dupont (AG2R Prevoyance)                            
35 Gilles Canouet (Agritubel)                                 
36 Carlos Da Cruz (Française des Jeux)                        
37 Christophe Laurent (Agritubel)                             
38 Freddy Bichot (Française des Jeux)                         
39 Frederic Gabriel (                              
40 Jimmy Casper (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)            
41 David Le Lay (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)         
42 Laurent Lefevre (Bouygues Telecom)                         
43 Yann Pivois (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)          
44 Mathieu Drujon (Auber 93)                                  
45 Christophe Kern (Bouygues Telecom)                         
46 Geoffroy Lequatre (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)       12.36
47 Laurent Brochard (Bouygues Telecom)                       
48 Mickael Delage (Française des Jeux)                       
49 Fabien Patanchon (Française des Jeux)                     
50 Eric Leblacher (Française des Jeux)                       
51 Matthieu Ladagnous (Française des Jeux)                   
52 Sebastien Duret (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)     
53 Cyrille Monnerais (Française des Jeux)                    
54 Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears)           
55 Stéphane Auge (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)          
56 Frederic Finot (Française des Jeux)                       
57 Florian Morizot (Auber 93)                                
DNF Giovanni Bernaudeau (Bouygues Telecom)                   
DNF Olivier Bonnaire (Bouygues Telecom)                      
DNF Sébastien Chavanel (Bouygues Telecom)                    
DNF Matthieu Claude (Bouygues Telecom)                       
DNF Pierre Drancourt (Bouygues Telecom)                      
DNF Andy Flickinger (Bouygues Telecom)                             
DNF Yohan Gene (Bouygues Telecom)                                  
DNF Maeyan Hary (Bouygues Telecom)                                 
DNF Vincent Jerome (Bouygues Telecom)                              
DNF Arnaud Labbe (Bouygues Telecom)                                
DNF Yoann Le Boulanger (Bouygues Telecom)                          
DNF Rony Martias (Bouygues Telecom)                                
DNF Alexandre Pichot (Bouygues Telecom)                            
DNF Anthony Ravard (Bouygues Telecom)                              
DNF Franck Renier (Bouygues Telecom)                               
DNF Ludovic Auger (Française des Jeux)                             
DNF Remy Di Gregorio (Française des Jeux)                          
DNF Arnaud Gerard (Française des Jeux)                             
DNF Frederic Guesdon (Française des Jeux)                          
DNF Sebastien Joly (Française des Jeux)                            
DNF Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux)                            
DNF Jeremy Roy (Française des Jeux)                                
DNF William Bonnet (Credit Agricole)                               
DNF Anthony Charteau (Credit Agricole)                             
DNF Christophe Edaleine (Credit Agricole)                          
DNF Jimmy Engoulvent (Credit Agricole)                             
DNF Christophe Le Mevel (Credit Agricole)                          
DNF Cyril Lemoine (Credit Agricole)                                
DNF Jean - Marc Marino (Credit Agricole)                           
DNF Killan Patour (Credit Agricole)                                
DNF Remy Pauriol (Credit Agricole)                                 
DNF Benoit Poilvet (Credit Agricole)                               
DNF Sebastien Portal (Credit Agricole)                             
DNF Yannick Talabardon (Credit Agricole)                           
DNF Nicolas Vogondy (Credit Agricole)                              
DNF Cyril Dessel (AG2R Prevoyance)                                 
DNF Samuel Dumoulin (AG2R Prevoyance)                              
DNF John Gadret (AG2R Prevoyance)                                  
DNF Stéphane Goubert (AG2R Prevoyance)                             
DNF Laurent Mangel (AG2R Prevoyance)                               
DNF Carl Naibo (AG2R Prevoyance)                                   
DNF Jean - Patrick Nazon (AG2R Prevoyance)                         
DNF Christophe Riblon (AG2R Prevoyance)                            
DNF Fredéric Bessy (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)              
DNF Arnaud Coyot (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)                
DNF Hervé Duclos - Lassalle (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)     
DNF Nicolas Inaudi (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)              
DNF Sébastien Minard (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)            
DNF Amael Moinard (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)               
DNF David Moncoutie (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)             
DNF Damien Monier (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)               
DNF Fabien Sanchez (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)              
DNF Tristan Valentin (Cofidis, le Credit par Telephone)            
DNF Stéphane Berges (Agritubel)                                    
DNF Nicolas Crosbie (Agritubel)                                    
DNF Lenaic Olivier (Agritubel)                                     
DNF Denis Robin (Agritubel)                                        
DNF Benoit Sinner (Agritubel)                                      
DNF Stéphane Bonsergent (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)      
DNF Antoine Dalibard (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)         
DNF Charles Guilbert (Groupe Sportif Bretagne-Jean Floc'h)         
DNF Julien Mazet (Auber 93)                                        
DNF Jean Mespoulede (Auber 93)                                     
DNF Nicolas Fritsch (Saunier Duval-Prodir)                         
DNF Yohan Cauquil (Jartazi-7Mobile)                                
DNF David Derepas (Jartazi-7Mobile)                                
DNF Jonathan Hivert (Credit Agricole)