John Gadret may have called time on his road career after failing to land a new contract at the end of the 2015 season, but the former Ag2r-La Mondiale and Movistar rider returned to his first love on Sunday, taking bronze in the French Cyclo-cross Championships in Besançon.
Gadret lined out in the event for Steve Chainel’s Cross Team by G4 outfit and placed third behind winner Francis Mourey (Fortuneo-Concept) and Clement Venturini (Cofidis).
“My career is over since September,” Gadret told L’Équipe. “It was Steve [Chainel] and my wife who pushed be to be here. I said ‘Ok, I know myself well, I’ll get a medal.’ For me, the bronze is a victory.”
Third overall at the 2011 Giro d’Italia (following Alberto Contador’s disqualification), Gadret raced for Movistar in 2014 and 2015 but was deemed surplus to requirements at the end of last season. Gadret said that he had no intention of racing on the road at amateur level in 2016.
“In any case, I won’t do any more road because when you’ve done the Tour or the Giro, your place is no longer in a peloton of amateurs,” Gadret said. “I’ll do mountain biking instead, maybe some trails. I’ve drawn a line through it [road racing] and seeing teams at training camps, I don’t feel any desire for it. But I’d just like to say that, in the professional milieu, they’re all sharks.”
Gadret was linked at one point during the winter with a move to the Fortuneo team but the 36-year-old was ultimately unable to find himself a berth in the professional ranks in 2016.
“I didn’t feel up to the level needed to ride for the likes of Valverde and Quintana at Movistar anymore. It had become too big for me,” Gadret said. “I’d have liked to have found a team to my dimensions, like Francis [Mourey, who signed for Fortuneo – ed.] I had a manager but managers take their percentage and I felt at a certain point that the paths were blocked.”