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Alexis Gougeard (Ag2r) celebrates his second win of 2014
Tour de l'Avenir prologue winner impresses at 21
AG2R-La Mondiale rider Alexis Gougeard, 21, made an impact when he won the Boucles de l'Aulne, which was the eleventh leg of the French cup. His victory in the Breton village of Châteaulin was his second pro win after he claimed the Classic Loire-Atlantique in March.
"Recovery has always been one of my biggest qualities," he said after his win. "In the future I’d like to be a Grand Tour rider but it would be too early to start a three-week race this year."
His debut in the WorldTour is around the corner as he'll take part in the Critérium du Dauphiné next week (June 8-15).
"We're giving him a learning experience on that occasion," AG2R-La Mondiale team manager Vincent Lavenu told Cyclingnews.
"I still have a lot to learn,”confirmed the rider from Rouen in Normandy on the finishing line of the Boucles de l'Aulne.
"I was honored when I got the news during the Tour de Picardie. The Dauphiné is one of the biggest races in the calendar. I'll try to break away at least once, otherwise I’ll work for the team."
On Sunday in Lyon, he’ll be able to test himself in a 10-km long time trial against Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Vincenzo Nibali. At the end of last year, Gougeard was the winner of the prologue of the Tour de l'Avenir, a race he led for three days after beating the likes of Denmark's Lasse Hansen and Simon Yates from Great Britain. As a junior, he was French time trial champion two years in a row and came second in the European championship.
"As an amateur, I could prepare for time trials but as a pro, I become strong through the racing," Gougeard added.
"I struggle in long time trials but I'll ride the French championship to improve. At AG2R-La Mondiale, we are a successful team and I try to take every opportunity."
After Gougeard won the Boucles de l'Aulne, AG2R-La Mondiale's leader Romain Bardet said: "We often see promising neo pros, it's rare to see winners like Alexis." And there's more to be seen from the young Frenchman.