On loan Le Lay shines on home soil

By Jean-François Quénet in Saint-Brieuc When he passed through the village of Corlay during stage...

By Jean-François Quénet in Saint-Brieuc

When he passed through the village of Corlay during stage two of the Tour de France, David Le Lay managed to recognise his family along the roadside. His proud father Gilbert Le Lay was the first Breton to wear the polka dot jersey in the Tour de France back in 1978. Gilbert was so small that he was nicknamed 'la puce d'Uzel' (the lice of Uzel), after the small village in central Brittany where he was from.

"The encouragements of the people gave me wings today," Le Lay said at the finish. "I've never been cheered so much but maybe it'll be even bigger next year when the French championship will be held in Saint-Brieuc." He finished stage two in his home town and was the most popular Breton rider of the day.

"I wanted to do something in one of the Breton stages," the Agritubel rider explained. "I tried early today but it was going super fast. On the côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne, I told Christophe Moreau that we should go for the points for the polka dot jersey, he wasn't convinced it was a good idea but we went anyway and we created quite a nice gap. It's not given to anybody to just make a breakaway in a Grand Tour," added the 28 year-old.

Le Lay's case is a special one: he's on loan to Agritubel from Continental team Bretagne-Armor Lux for the last six months of the 2008 season. When he won two French cup races (Tour du Finistère and Trophée des Grimpeurs), he became the leader of the French cup and Agritubel was looking for a climber for the Tour de France. Bretagne-Armor Lux were happy to release him and he'll return to them for the 2009 season.

Bretagne-Armor Lux had hoped to become a Pro Continental team and take part in the Tour de France, a possibility that had been suggested by Christian Prudhomme for the 2008 race starting in Brittany, until both parties realised the Breton team wasn't ready yet.

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