French champion second to Gesink in Canadian WorldTour race
French champion Arthur Vichot (FDJ) is showing good form at the right time of the season for someone who hopes to be selected for France's world championship squad. With the elite men's road Worlds a little more than two weeks away in Tuscany, Italy, Vichot gave the selectors something to consider after the 24-year-old Frenchman finished second to Robert Gesink (Belkin) in Friday's one-day WorldTour event in Canada - the 201.6km Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec.
After 16 laps of an arduous 12.6km circuit through Old Quebec, Vichot finished on the podium from a select 10-man group which emerged in the closing kilometres to sprint for victory on the Grande Allee thoroughfare's uphill finale. Joing Gesink and Vichot on the podium in third place was Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).
"I was already in the pre-selection for Worlds and our final selection will be announced on Sunday," said Vichot. "It's important to be part of the Worlds. It's a race that I dream of, and I hope the points scored here today count in my favour."
In his fourth season as a professional, all with FDJ, Vichot first came into prominence, at least among English-speaking fans, with the Vichot fan club that sprang to life at the 2010 Tour Down Under. Vichot has made steady progress through his career thus far by winning a stage of Paris-Correze in 2010 followed by victories at French one-day races Les Boucles du Sud Ardeche and the Tour du Doubs in 2011.
Vichot's 2012 season was highlighted by a solo victory in stage 5 at the Criterium du Dauphine and his winning ways continued this season with overall victory at the Tour du Haut Var plus the French road championship.
His second place finish in Quebec is only the second time he's placed on the podium in a WorldTour event, and the first at a one-day race.
"I can't really be disappointed," said Vichot of his performance in Quebec. "I worked hard and tried my best in going head-to-head with sprinters."
While France will already have chosen it's nine-man squad for the elite men's road race prior to the finish of Sunday's Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal, nonetheless Vichot is looking forward to another opportunity to prove himself.
"I would like to do well in Montreal as well," said Vichot. "I've already finished eighth [in 2011] and 13th [in 2012] so obviously it's a course that suits me well.
"The thing that's different is here [in Quebec] position is very important. In Montreal [and its less technical circuit] it's more simple - either you're in the front with good legs or you're not and you're not in contention as well."
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