Thanks to Paris-Tours, which is renowned as the sprinters' classic, the city of Tours has long been associated with fast finishers. On Sunday, it provided the stage for a potential new addition to the sprinting hierarchy as Lorrenzo Manzin swept along the Boulevard Jean Royer with the pack in his wake to claim his first professional victory in La Roue Tourangelle.
The 20-year-old from the Indian Ocean island of Réunion was fast-tracked into the pro ranks by FDJ after impressing during a period as a stagiaire in the second half of last season. Manzin came into this year with his focus on learning the trade and hoping for a first win.
Set back initially by a crash at the Tour Down Under which left him with a gashed knee and a month out of racing, Manzin returned at the GP Samyn in March. He started to find his feet at the Volta a Catalunya, but felt that although his form was improving quickly, he wasn't getting the results he should have been.
"In several races I felt frustrated at the finish. I wasn't that far away from producing a very good performance," he told Cyclism'Actu following his La Roue Tourangelle success.
"I felt real satisfaction when I crossed the line there. I was happy both for my team and for myself having been affected by the vagaries of racing since the start of the season."
Manzin described how he was well protected by FDJ's lead-out train. "There were four of us coming into the finish, my teammates maneuvered very well and did a good job of controlling any attacks," said Manzin, who had picked out Bryan Coquard, Samuel Dumoulin, Rudy Barbier and Clément Venturini as his main rivals in a tricky and quite testing finish that split the bunch and left only 15 riders contesting victory.
Manzin, who moved to France from Réunion at the age of 16 to progress both his cycling career and continue his education, has previously said he had no concerns about turning pro so young, given FDJ's impressive recent record in bringing through young riders.
"It's been the team's policy for some years to show confidence in young riders by giving them experience of high-level races," explained Manzin, who acknowledges that he and fellow new pro Marc Sarreau have been signed with a view to filling the gap left by Nacer Bouhanni at the end of last season.
"I'm only a new pro, but time does pass quickly. When you see that the likes of [Arnaud] Démare, Bouhanni and Coquard won soon after turning pro, you want to be able to emulate them,” said Manzin.
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