Having already guided riders to just about every title in cycle sport, Sir Dave Brailsford has revealed that he has one further ambition that he would love to achieve: guiding a French rider to the Tour de France title.
Brailsford, who raced as an amateur in France and says that the country is like his second home, revealed this goal in an interview with L'Equipe. Having declared his commitment to convincing fans that it is possible to win the Tour in a correct manner, Brailsford said: "Somewhere in my mind I've got a little idea… I've won the Tour with a British rider, but when are we going to see a French rider win the Tour? That would be a huge moment."
Asked if this was a personal goal, Brailsford responded: "Yes, I would like to win it with a French rider. I think it has to be done. For the Tour, for France, for the French people, for the sport, having a French winner would be huge. I think about it quite often."
He continued: "France deserves a French winner. It's clear there are good French teams, and I don't mean to show them any lack of respect, but even so everyone would be happy."
Pressed on who could achieve this, Brailsford mentioned the names of Romain Bardet, Warren Barguil and Thibaut Pinot, and also mentioned sprinters Arnaud Démare and Julien Alaphilippe, the 22-year-old Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider, as huge talents.
"There is a new generation of French riders who believe in themselves," he said. "[Kenny] Elissonde is a very good rider, [Nacer] Bouhanni too. Little by little we can see that the level in France is improving, especially at the Junior World Championships.
Brailsford refused to be drawn when asked which rider he was most interested in, but confirmed that he really likes the idea of achieving this goal.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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