After winning a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the first-ever edition of the omnium, Frenchman Bryan Coquard confirmed he will leave track cycling for a time in order to pursue a road career with Team Europcar.
"I will leave the track to compete on the road for two years, but I will come back to track cycling because I love it, and because it has provided opportunities for me," Coquard said. "I lived some unforgettable moments on the track which ended on a high mark."
Twice a world champion at junior level in the omnium, Coquard nevertheless was only an outside hope for a medal. His top finishes at the senior level were two podiums at World Cups and two eighth places at the world championships.
"It's a dream come true. Even in my craziest dreams I couldn't imagine it. I thought of all the sacrifices I made to be here. This medal is the result of a four-year plan. I have been junior world champion twice, then it wasn't easy moving to the elite, but everything worked just perfectly."
In London, Coquard raced with the tactical acuity of a rider with more experience than someone just 20 years old. After posting the fifth fastest flying lap, he made both of the breakaways that lapped the field in the points race to finish fourth. The pinnacle of his mental sharpness came in the elimination race, which he won ahead of Italian Elia Viviani and the omnium world champion Glenn O'Shea (Australia).
His weak point has always been the timed events, with the pursuit a particularly challenging race. The 12th place he took in that event was made up for by another astute ride in the scratch race to finish third and a gutsy fourth place in the kilo.
"I'm one of the fastest in the sprint events, but in the endurance events I had some difficulties. After the world championships in March, I worked on it with my staff. I had five people just for me. I thank them all, it was the ideal omnium for me."
Expect to see Coquard back in action on the boards ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
Laura Weislo has been with Cyclingnews since 2006 after making a switch from a career in science. As Deputy Editor, she coordinates coverage for North American events and global news. A swimmer in her younger days, Laura made the change to cycling later in life, but was immediately swept up by a huge passion for the sport. Riding for fitness quickly gave way to the competitive urge, and a decade of racing later she can look back on a number of high profile races and say with confidence, "I started". While her racing days are over for the most part, she continues to dabble in cyclo-cross and competing against fellow pathletes on the greenways of Raleigh, North Carolina.
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