Yoann Offredo (FDJ) was one of the main animators of Saturday’s Milan-San Remo, and although he was frustrated to finish in 7th place, the young Frenchman had no regrets about the aggressive tactics that he employed.
“I’ve been thinking of this race for a whole year, not just in the last few days,” Offredo told L’Èquipe. “This 7th place leaves me a little frustrated even if I don’t have any regrets. I attacked three times and always with the goal of contesting the win.”
In 2010, Offredo launched a speculative solo effort ahead of the Poggio that ultimately left his speed blunted for the finish, but when he made his move on the descent of the Cipressa this time around, it was as part of the four-man escape that ignited the finale.
After tackling the Poggio in the company of his teammate Steve Chainel, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Stuart O’Grady (Leopard Trek), Offredo was part of the elite eight-man group that formed in the streets of San Remo. He launched his final bid for victory 2km from home, but when he was caught, he was forced to lead out the sprint.
“After my last attack with 2km to go, I really believed that it was going to pay off,” Offredo said. “But we can’t reproach ourselves, we gave the maximum.”
As well as his brave showing on the Riviera, Offredo has already finished 4th at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad this season and he will now head to the cobbled classics high on morale. Nonetheless, the 24-year-old is aware that he is still undergoing his apprenticeship at this level.
“These races, like Milan-San Remo, aren’t just won from one day to the next,” Offredo said. “It will happen with experience. I know that it’s necessary to fail in order to succeed. I’m picking up places every year. I’m beginning to make a place for myself among the classics riders.”
Sudouest.fr recently reported that Offredo had clashed with Andreas Klöden at Paris-Nice, but the FDJ rider explained that his consistently improving results have been quietly earning him the respect of his classics peers.
“Before, when people saw me at the front, they could easily say to me, ‘Français de merde!’” Offredo said. “Now, I note that they call me by my first name or come and tap me on the shoulder. I’ve always known to shut up and keep progressing, because you earn respect by riding.”