At the Dauphiné, Laszlo Bodrogi has appeared on the start list as a Frenchman, no longer riding under his original Hungarian nationality. It's not a mistake; rather, he has traded the green of his native flag for the blue of France thanks to nuptial bliss.
"I asked for French naturalisation in the middle of 2007 and it was accepted last year," said Bodrogi, whose wife is French. The son of a doctor who travelled from Budapest to Besançon for work when Laszlo was a teenager in the early '90s, the Katusha rider moved to the east of France when he was a junior.
He developed as a young rider with the elite CC Etupes squad and remained in Besançon - besides a brief stint in northern Italy during his first year as a pro with the Mapei Espoirs team in 2000.
Since then he he has been Hungarian national champion 10 times but this year he'll take part in the French championships in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, on June 25 and 28. He'll face stronger competition. "It won't be easy because I'm coming back after a long break due to an injury," he explained. He broke a tibia and a foot during a crash at the Tour of Germany last year and began training again at the end of February before resuming racing at the Four Days of Dunkirk.
"I've chosen to ride for France because the support would be better", he added. It means the silver medallist of the 2007 world championship time trial, who also won the Chrono des Nations that year, is far from having given up his ambitions to get the rainbow jersey at the age of 33.