Christophe Le Mével (Francaise des Jeux) is aiming for a repeat of last year’s top ten finish in the Tour de France. As the highest-placed French rider in 2009, Le Mével has seen fit to alter his preparation in the run-up to this year’s race and for the first time in his career has tailored his season with the Tour specifically in mind.
“I didn’t have any desire to keep the same programme,” he told L’Équipe. “Last year, I succeeded in doing a very good Tour, but that could all have been messed up. I‘d done a big Dauphiné, I’d prepared myself fully for the French championships, and I arrived in Monaco tired (for the start of the Tour). The last week was very difficult”.
Le Mével’s season has been geared towards being fresh for the Tour’s tough final week. “My form is growing. The Dauphiné was my race for starting up. Since then, I’ve been getting better and better, and the aim is to rev up during the three weeks, as the Pyrenees come in the third week”.
In 2009, Le Mével rocketed up the overall standings thanks to his presence in the breakaway that finished five minutes up on the bunch on the stage to Besançon, although he followed this with some very solid performances in the mountains. This time around, Le Mével hopes to complement this natural combative style with greater efficiency against the clock. “I’m not going to win any time trials, but I hope to save a minute or 1:30 over 40km”.
Le Mével’s second place in Sunday’s French road race championship was a huge disappointment for the Breton, but he has comforted himself with the realisation that he is growing into his status as a leader. “I am capable of getting results when the team is counting on me”, he said. Le Mével was an impressive winner of the Tour du Haut-Var already this season.
Francaise des Jeux manager Marc Madiot has stated his team’s goals to be “the general classification or a stage”, and Le Mével will be hoping to deliver on one, if not both, of those fronts.