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Baugé worried French track programme still lags behind Britain

Cycling News
February 26, 11:04,
February 26, 10:01
First Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, February 26, 2014
UCI Track World Championships
Jason Kenny (Great Britain) vs Gregory Bauge (France) in gold medal final

Jason Kenny (Great Britain) vs Gregory Bauge (France) in gold medal final

  • Jason Kenny (Great Britain) vs Gregory Bauge (France) in gold medal final
  • Gregory Bauge (France) after finishing second.
  • Gregory Bauge (France)

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Frenchman surprised by Jason Kenny's London 2012 performance

In spite of the inauguration of the new Vélodrome National last month, Grégory Baugé believes that the level of support for French track riders is still some way behind what is on offer to their British counterparts.

The track at Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines is the Paris area’s first permanent and regulation-length indoor velodrome in 55 years and while it marks progress for the French Federation, Baugé said that facilities alone were not enough.

“Yes, there’s a nice track but as I’ve said before, that’s not everything,” Baugé told L’Équipe ahead of this week’s world championships in Cali. “I’m French and I have the impression that, in my country, we’re standing still, we’re performing a track stand. I’m saying it clearly, we’re not there. I know that I am the strongest but you’re the good Frenchman who wants to do things within the rules and voilà.”

Asked if he was suggesting that the riders on the rival Great Britain track programme were doping, Baugé said: “Doping, that’s not what I’d put first.”

At the London 2012 Olympics, French team director Isabelle Gautheron publicly questioned whether the British team was riding regulation wheels – “Mavic wheels or magic wheels?” as the L’Équipe headline put it at the time – while Baugé himself took over from journalists during the press conference that followed his defeat in the sprint final, asking winner Jason Kenny a number of questions regarding his preparation.

Kenny’s only world championship gold medal before those Olympics had come when Baugé was handed a retroactive ban for recording three whereabouts violations and was stripped of his 2011 sprint world title.

“I haven’t heard anything about the wheels,” Baugé told L’Équipe. “But what I’ve felt is that they’re all rowing in the same direction, right down to the smallest details. We saw that that their athletes were there just to push on the pedals. At this level, you need 1% to make the difference between a gold medal and a silver medal.”

Baugé also revisited his surprise at losing so emphatically to Kenny at the London Olympics after beating him at the Worlds in Melbourne earlier that year: “Kenny, I never saw him like that… I knew that I was the best but I couldn’t even draw level with him!”

This week’s Worlds in Colombia mark Baugé’s first major championships appearance since he took time out after the London Olympics before deciding to continue building towards Rio 2016. In the intervening period, Florian Rousseau has stepped down as French coach and Baugé said that the jury is still out on his replacement, New Zealander Justin Grace.

“To say whether he’s the right person, honestly, I’m waiting for the world championships. The truth comes in competition. That’s where I judge a coach,” Baugé said. “I shouldn’t say that, but I think it’s normal to have a little doubt all the same… It was easier with Florian. I knew him, he knew me.”

Although part of the team sprint line-up, Baugé did not qualify for the individual sprint in Cali and said he was hampered by injury during the winter. “Given my condition, there’s no disappointment. I know that I won’t be Super Baugé in Cali,” he said, although the Frenchman struck a defiant note when he asked if he still considered himself the best sprinter in the world.

“It’s clear that, in my head, I’m the best,” Baugé said. “If the others don’t think so, it’s no big deal…”

wrinklyvet 4 months ago
Oh no, not the magic wheels rubbish again. At least that is a re-hash of what Isabelle Gautheron said, by courtesy of Cycling news' long memory for scandal, and not an allegation by the beaten Baugé! However, “Doping, that’s not what I’d put first” is an ambiguous response not worthy of him. Let's be charitable - perhaps translation accounts for this. What he really seems to be saying is in his comment, "they’re all rowing in the same direction, right down to the smallest details."
EnacheV 4 months ago
Kenny’s only world championship gold medal before those Olympics had come when Baugé was handed a retroactive ban for recording three whereabouts violations and was stripped of his 2011 sprint world title. So a little doper is surprised that it get's beaten while not on juice?
Dan Vella 4 months ago
Basically yeah
Ryo Hazuki 4 months ago
lol what a calimero. the british results in london were beyond ridiculous but as always I give the benefit of the doubt but then to suggest as a competitor they are doping is even more ridiculous. I do believe the french way of training and everything is amaterustic compared to great britain.
trevorho 4 months ago
Bad loser Baugé. I doubt Hoy handed out such insinuations about Baugé when he made it to the top. And has been said - Baugé's ban means he's badly placed to make insinuations about other athletes.
Steveo 4 months ago
He probably doesn't care, but nobody likes a sore loser! Cav is one of the most vocal sprinters I've seen when losing, but only in the heat of the moment. He is always gracious when he's calmed down. Maybe a bit of humility is needed here to truly be 'the best'?
yetanothergreenworld 4 months ago
I don't think that we have a fair sampling to judge from. Everything Cav says gets reported in the British and American cycling media -- so you get a fairly complex picture of the guy. This article, meanwhile, is only interested in Bauge insofar as he's talking about the British track program; not surprisingly, he ends up looking like a complainer by default. A similar thing used to happen with Contador: he would disproportionately get paid attention to by websites like CN when he was talking about Armstrong, as though all he did was trash-talk his illustrious teammate and mentor.
Steveo 4 months ago
I just thought the press room questioning of Kenny went a step too far.
Volderke 4 months ago
I just read this article totally different than most, and those who criticize Baugé based on this article are once again trapped by reading into a biased journalist's evil brain: Baugé explains that the French cannot take success for granted, even not when they have built a new velodrome. They have to increase the attention for details like the British. When asked if this is about doping, he clearly says that there are more important issues. The reporter tries to make it into a doping story, tries to give his opinion about what he thinks that Baugé thinks (that the Brits doped, something which Baugé never said/thought/insinuated), and mentions his whereabouts. Baugé was a loser at the olympics. He asked Kenny how he won, so he could learn something from the guy who beat him. That is the spirit of a guy who is eager to win in the future.
wrinklyvet 4 months ago
I agree with most of this. There is spin in the reporting. The only ambiguity on Baugé's part is, as I said above, “Doping, that’s not what I’d put first” in answer to a question that attempted to steer him there. But if he did not think it was doping at all, he could have said so more directly.
barn yard 4 months ago
there is a press conf from the 12 olympics where bauge and kenny are having a back and forth, bauge clearly insinuates that kenny was/is doping, to his face. the press room just laughs as usual. nothing to see here, especially in london. the fact that every GB cyclist either set a world record or won a gold medal at that track meet is completely normal. probably just a 1% gain from a positive ion charged blanket. totally cleans.
wrinklyvet 4 months ago
You are a bit of a lame comedian I see.
barn yard 4 months ago
how's life with the blinkers on? maybe you would be interested in the NFL, NRL, or UFC? i also have a bridge for sale, pm me if you would like to buy it.
wrinklyvet 4 months ago
Only the Americans fall for the old London Bridge trick. You must think I was as stupid! And what do American football etc leagues have anything to do with me? I can see why you are jaundiced.
Steven Nicholson 4 months ago
the less said about Bauge the better but he+ the approach of the French team in general seems entirely amateurish, they seem to peak for the World Championships then realize there's still another 6 months until the Olympic's and don't know what to do in the meantime, were as the Brit's and probably the Aussies treat the WC's as just another competition to use as a stepping stone towards preparing for the Olympic's for which they peak at and why they have won most of the Olympic medals since 2004.
wirral 4 months ago
What France needs is a Dave Brailsford type.
1CameronMurray 4 months ago
so they might have a home Tour de France winner by 2035??
Bmo012 4 months ago
Jason Kenny's performance was, for me, the highlight of the entire olympics. Bauge was odds on and I thought Jason just didn't have a chance against him. I imagine Bauge thought the same as I did.
Steven Nicholson 4 months ago
i think Bauge thought he had the gold medal before the Olympic's even started.
ellenbrook2001 4 months ago
the way the British did win so many medals at the Olympic sure something very very fishy here Jason Kenny's what the highlight when you are on dope common men otherwise that impossible. how can you explain 5 years ago the POMM where not good on cycling then now they win all such so fast improvement are impossible.