By Jean-François Quénet in Adelaide
Guillaume Blot put his name down for the race reports for the first time when he attacked at the beginning of stage 2 in the Tour Down Under. The Cofidis rider went away with Euskaltel-Euskadi's Mikel Irizar and Aaron Kemps from UniSA. It was obvious the stocky blond French guy enjoyed every moment in the front as he rode in an aggressive way.
He regretted it wasn't the case for everybody up there. In defence of the lead of his teammate Andoni Lafuente's KOM prize, Irizar asked for the permission to pass in first position at the top of the first climb. His two companions agreed but after the hill, he stopped taking turns.
"There were some arguments from team car to team car," Cofidis' Directeur Sportif Francis Vanlondersele admitted.
"But I'm happy anyway," Blot said. "This kind of breakaway will help me improve on my foundations as a pro rider. This year compared to the amateur ranks, I definitely need my physique to go one level higher in terms of power and freshness in the finale."
Hailing from the historical pirate city of Saint-Malo in Brittany where the Tour de France held the start of stage 3 last year, Blot was poised as a very young rider to become France's next top sprinter. From the age of 16, he was personally trained by cycling legend Cyrille Guimard. Guimard eventually got disappointed by the progress of his protégé when Blot was around 20 years old.
In six seasons, Blot frequented three different clubs (VC Roubaix, Côtes d'Armor and USSA Ste-Austreberthe) and finally signed with a professional team at the age of 24, after a successful trial as a trainee with Cofidis last year.
"At the end of stage 1 in the Tour Down Under, I led Alexandre Usov out in the first bunch sprint finish," Blot remembered. "But I had lost him, he wasn't on my wheel. Had I done the sprint for myself, I feel I could have finished between fifth and tenth. But I'm not riding as a sprinter for my first pro season. I'll go for breakaways again in order to become stronger."