Jérôme Coppel confirmed his return to form as he outclassed his teammate from IAM Cycling Sylvain Chavanel to claim the French title for individual time trial in Chantonnay on the boulevard Thomas Voeckler – so is officially called the street after the man who became the French champion for road racing for the second time in 2010. Stéphane Rossetto of Cofidis took a surprise second place, only two seconds down on the blue, white and red jersey.
“I’m also very surprised that I won,” said Coppel, 29, who has often made his way to the French championships with ambitions to get a medal but fourth in 2013 was his best place up to date. “I never made the podium before and my first time is on the top spot. I was pretty sure that I was racing for second place behind Sylvain [Chavanel]. It was a very hot day. Towards the end, it was very hard. I was almost cramping.”
In the two time checks, Coppel was second at 11 and 13 seconds. Chavanel looked like being on his way to his seventh title in the time trial. But he was on a different pre-race schedule as in previous years since he rode the Giro d’Italia for the first time and nothing since. On the other hand, Coppel was on the right track after finishing seventh at the time trial of the Tour de Suisse on Sunday. That race followed a long break after he broke his hand at the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.
“For three weeks in my rehabilitation period, I was only able to ride on the home-trainer with my time trial bike,” Coppel explained. “That made me work specifically for time trialling. I’ve hated that bike but it has paid off. However, Sylvain remains the best French time triallist.
“I started well, I was serene but I felt straight away that I wasn’t in a very good day,” Chavanel commented. “I’ve suffered the heat. That’s enough to explain how an advantage of 13 seconds can turn upside down at the end. I’m disappointed because I wanted a seventh title but I’m happy for Jérôme after the health problems he had. My strength is to quickly turn the page.”
Coppel reminded that last time Chavanel didn’t win the time trial (in Boulogne-sur-Mer in 2011, the winner was Christophe Kern of Europcar), he won the road race the following Sunday. “It was also on a difficult circuit and they were only two in their team (QuickStep),” Coppel recalled. “We’re kind of in a similar situation here with four riders.” Jérôme Pineau and Clément Chevrier are the two other Frenchmen from IAM Cycling.
Probably the biggest surprise is Rossetto’s second place ahead of established podium contenders like Alexis Gougeard (AG2R-La Mondiale), sixth, Anthony Roux and Johan Le Bon (FDJ), ninth and tenth, while former La Pomme-Marseille rider Thomas Rostollan took the amateur French title by finishing fourth.
“I’m disappointed,” said Rossetto who was fourth overall in the Route du Sud last weekend. “I would have preferred to lose by 30 seconds rather than two. The margin is very small but the gap between the silver medal and the French champion title is enormous. But I was motivated. I was targeting the podium.”
Last year’s Tour de France runner up Jean-Christophe Péraud also took part in the race he won in 2009 as an amateur prior to turning professional with Omega Pharma-Lotto. But he pulled out after hearing the first time check.
“He was hoping to do much better but there’s nothing to worry about,” AG2R-La Mondiale’s team manager Vincent Lavenu told Cyclingnews.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jerome Coppel (Fra) IAM Cycling||0:59:56|
|2||Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||0:00:02|
|3||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling||0:00:07|
|4||Thomas Rostollan (Fra) AVC Aix||0:00:27|
|5||Romain Sicard (Fra) Team Europcar||0:00:27|
|6||Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:00:32|
|7||Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar||0:00:45|
|8||Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement||0:00:54|
|9||Anthony Roux (Fra) FDJ.fr||0:01:18|
|10||Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ.fr||0:01:48|
|11||Pierre-Luc Perichon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement||0:02:10|
|12||Sébastien Turgot (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:02:11|
|13||Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement||0:02:17|
|16||Benoît Vaugrenard (Fra) Fdj.Fr||0:02:32|
|19||Julien Morice (Fra) Team Europcar||0:02:58|
|20||Damien Gaudin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:03:03|
|22||Jérôme Cousin (Fra) Team Europcar||0:03:12|
|23||Bryan Nauleau (Fra) Team Europcar||0:03:14|
|28||Arnaud Gerard (Fra) Bretagne-Séché Environnement||0:03:48|
|29||Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier (Fra) Fdj.Fr||0:03:53|
|30||Romain Guillemois (Fra) Team Europcar||0:03:57|
|33||Sébastien Fournet Fayard||0:04:26|
|35||Florian Senechal (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits||0:04:45|
|50||Emilien Benoit Berges||0:06:36|