Frenchman happy to balance winter campaign with road season
Fresh from a busy 2011 road season capped by a fourth-place finish at the Giro d’Italia, John Gadret (Ag2r-La Mondiale) has thrown himself into the cyclo-cross campaign with gusto in recent weeks.
The Frenchman placed 3rd in round two of France’s Challenge National in Rodez on Sunday, after making his seasonal debut in Lignières two weeks ago. As well as competing in every leg of the domestic competition, Gadret will ride all bar one of the World Cup events as he builds towards the French national championships in January.
“I have every round of the Challenge National in my programme, as well as all of the World Cup events, except for the Spanish round,” Gadret told Velochrono. “I’m trying to score UCI points and have a good place on the starting grid if I go to the Worlds. But my main objective is the French championships.
“It’s a very physical course [at Quelneuc – ed], and what I like is that there is a good bit of road as well as a slightly uphill wooded section. That will hurt a lot and it suits me well.”
Gadret acknowledged that the Worlds circuit in Koksijde is not best suited to his characteristics, however, and the 32-year-old insisted that he will work for Steve Chainel and Francis Mourey if selected.
“There are a lot of up-and-coming youngsters, so I must earn my place,” he said. “But if I go, it’s not to do something personal, it’s to help Steve and Francis get a medal. We’ve been waiting for that for years on the French team. We’re getting there with underage riders, but at elite level, we’re still at the foot of the podium.”
Gadret’s road season finished in mid-September, but just three weeks later his cyclo-cross preparations were already in full swing. He will enjoy another three-week break at the end of January, before beginning his 2012 road campaign at Cholet-Pays de Loire in March.
“I didn’t even go on holidays. I took a break after the GP d’Isergues and even then, I was supposed to go to the Tour of Lombardy originally,” he said. “It’s also for that reason that I began cyclo-cross earlier than usual. I had three weeks to recover and I will have three more at the end of the winter.”
Gadret explained that in spite of his impressive Giro d’Italia showing, there was never a possibility that he would be tempted to forgo cyclo-cross this winter in order to focus exclusively on the road. His off-road exploits provide the perfect counterpoint to his road career.
“It’s a rhythm that works for me. One year, I’d tried to become a real road rider, but I lost all my points of reference. I need cyclo-cross. It’s this balance that allows me to go well.”
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