Hervé Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis) was happy and relieved to score his first victory as a professional...
HervÃ© Duclos-Lassalle (Cofidis) was happy and relieved to score his first victory as a professional in Sunday's GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise. The son of Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle hadn't won a race in four years â ever since he signed for the Cofidis Elite squad, coming out of the team's Espoir programme.
The 27 year-old took the victory in Marseille in front of Frederik Veuchelen (Topsport Vlaanderen) and Ryder Hesjedal (Slipstream) in a three-man sprint, while a group of chasers including Christophe Moreau (Agritubel) was just metres away on the finishing straight. "In the finale, I knew that Hesjedal isn't very fast but I was anxious about Veuchelen, who's quite strong," Duclos-Lassalle told L'Equipe after the race. "Still, I didn't panic. With 1.5km to go, I stopped taking turns as I knew that if I continued my efforts, I'd be done. I took the risk [of being caught by the chasers - ed.], and it worked. Three years ago, I would have been more nervous."
The Cofidis rider was a surprise winner in the event, as even his squad had team-mate Samuel Dumoulin down as captain. "We had planned the team to ride for Samuel, and even more so when Samuel and HervÃ© were in the right escape," the squad's directeur sportif, Francis Van Londersele, explained. "He deserved [the victory] â he was the one to close all the gaps. HervÃ© might not have the class of his dad, but he's making a name for himself right now."
Speaking of his father, the young Duclos-Lassalle found it hard to develop his own strengths when he was in the junior ranks. "They said that I was strong because my name was Duclos-Lassalle," he recalled. "It was difficult to live with. But for it to change, I would have to win Paris-Roubaix three times â that would be even more difficult," he added, on a less serious note.