After being sidelined with no possibility of racing or training for five weeks due to a heel injury at the end of February, Anthony Roux was relieved to get his first win of the year at the end of stage 4 of the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire. He was even happier when he claimed the overall title in Bonnétable.
"To watch Paris-Nice on TV with an injured foot was unbearable", Roux recalled. "I had prepared the season well and I wasn't able to race. It was hard to accept it." The 23-year-old came back for the Criterium International at the end of March and finished tenth of the individual time trial, which seems to be his speciality.
"He can also do well at the Ardennes classics", his team manager Marc Madiot told Cyclingnews. "He's got a really big engine. Everyone remembers how he won stage 17 in the Vuelta a Espana two years ago. He was in a breakaway and resisted by himself to the return of the bunch. This is the real indication on what he's able to do."
Last year, Roux made his debut at the Tour de France but didn't encounter any success. He became famous on French TV for Madiot's instructions to not remain the lanterne rouge. He struggled to finish fourth from the bottom but not last on GC. "He has discovered the suffering of the Tour", Madiot remembered. "It was a very good learning experience for him. He's not a climber, we all know that, but in the climbs of the Ardennnes, except the Mur de Huy in the Flèche Wallonne, he can do well with the physique he's got. He arrives in good shape at the right time."
At the Circuit de la Sarthe-Pays de la Loire, Roux enjoyed being escorted by a very dedicated team with the experience of FDJ recruit Pierrick Fedrigo fully at his service. "It gives me the ambition to ride for the win again next week at Paris-Camembert, Tour du Finistère and Tro Bro Leon", Roux emphasized.