“My priority on the Tour de France is to show that I am there for my skills”

Marion Rousse: «Ma priorité sur le Tour de France, c’est de montrer que je suis là pour mes compétences»

INTERVIEW – The former cycling champion is preparing to experience two Tours de France in July, in front of and behind the camera.

Everything succeeds Marion Rousse. At 30, the consultant from France Televisions comment on it Tour de France with Laurent Jalabert and Alexander Pasteur and has just been appointed director of the women’s edition, relaunched this year. Companion of runner Julian Alaphilippe – who will not ultimately participate in the big loop – she is also the mother of a little Nino. Confidences of an enthusiast who has become a must in the world of cycling.

TV MAGAZINE. – How does this Tour de France 2022 look like?
Marion Rousse. – The start takes place in Copenhagen, which shows the interest of other countries for the competition. The course is difficult and quite atypical with a first week full of pitfalls, then mountain stages with passages at 2,000 meters. It will be a very strong man who will win.

” READ ALSO – Marion Rousse, woman and expert of the Grande Boucle

Last year, you followed the competition in a motorhome with your dad and your son. What memories do you have of it?
I had given birth a few weeks earlier and warned France Télévisions that I would not be commenting. So I lived the competition at the roadside listening to my friends commenting and savoring it.

You are back on the air. How are you preparing?
It’s a year-round job. I watch all the races. On the Tour, we spot the route in the morning with Laurent Jalabert and Alexandre Pasteur. This is an important moment for the quality of our comments. Just like having a connection with the peloton and knowing the stories.

“With Laurent Jalabert and Alexandre Pasteur, we know each other very well, so it’s fluid and natural. And then none of us have an oversized ego”

Marion Rousse

Do you have your specialties?
We’ve been commentating together for years and we know each other very well, so it’s smooth and natural. And then none of us have an oversized ego. We all know that the stars are the cyclists and we’re just here to talk about it.

VSHow are you organizing this year with your son?
Nino stays with my parents, but he will come to see me during rest days, because a month without him would be too long… Even when I leave him for an hour, I spend my time looking at photos. I’m gaga!

During the Tour, you generally don’t see Julian Alaphilippe, your lover either…
Despite what people may believe, we are not in the same hotels. He is at the start and I at the finish, so we meet all the time!

” READ ALSO – Who is Marion Rousse, consultant on the Tour de France for France Télévisions?

He recently suffered a heavy crash during the Liège-Bastogne-Liège race while you were on commentary…
For the first time, I lost my means because I didn’t know what he had. In general, a fall does not disturb me too much if he gets up, I tell myself that these are the risks of the job. But there, it was an atmosphere that I hope never to relive…

When Julian won the world championship, you didn’t hide your emotion. Do you experience the races differently when he takes part in them?
The world championship is the most beautiful race that a runner can win. It was obviously special that he won, but I would have found it also exceptional for any Frenchman. My past as a high-level sportswoman makes me put her performance into perspective. If he doesn’t win a race, that’s okay, and I’m happy for whoever wins. If one day this is no longer the case, it will be time for me to change jobs.

“I was not yet walking that I was already on the side of the roads to see races. The Tour de France punctuated my holidays»

Marion Rousse

How was your passion for cycling born?
It’s a family thing! My cousins ​​were professionals and my father raced in the first category. I was not yet walking that I was already on the side of the roads to see the races. The Tour de France punctuated my holidays. When I was 6, I wanted to ride a bike. My father thought it was too hard, that I was too young. But I was sure of myself and I took a license on the sly with my mother.

You have become French road cycling champion. How is this an asset in your work as a consultant?
Having practiced the discipline is a real advantage regarding the technical aspects. But in the end I was always a commentator, because I was already doing it on the sofa with my father. When I watch a competition, I talk all the time. For me, it’s hardly a job!

What does it mean to convey your passion?
I could never have imagined working in the media, because I was super shy. When Eurosport invited me on the show The kings of the pedal, I haven’t slept! But, in the end, I felt in my element. My priority has always been to show that I’m here not because I need a girl, but because I have the skills. People were very kind and saw that I knew the subject.

” READ ALSO – Tour de France: how Marion Rousse manages to comment on the performance of her companion Julian Alaphilippe?

The press has not always been kind, as evidenced by the sexist and degrading caricature of which you were the victim in 2020 in the newspaper L’Humanité…
It was in very bad taste and unbelievably ridiculous. There was no message behind it, it was meant to hurt. I was disgusted and thought, “Are we there yet?” The best answer was to keep doing my job well.

There were a lot of reactions, did you expect that?
We are reaching a stage where everyone is annoyed by this kind of caricatures or words that no longer have any place to be. No one wanted to let something that big go by.

Marie Portolano’s documentary on sexism in sports journalism then aired. Have you seen it?
Yes, it was a very nice report. It must be hard to live with… Me, I have always been surrounded by kind people at Eurosport and France Télévisions. This documentary freed speech, it was a real turning point. I am not for talking about gender. Man or woman, you have to choose people for their skills.

“When I started on TV, I was the only girl talking about men’s cycling. Today there are others. It’s on and we won’t stop!”

Marion Rousse

Is there still a long way to go for women in media and sport?
This is moving in the right direction. When I started on TV, I was the only girl talking about men’s cycling. Today there are others. It’s on and we won’t stop!

ASO is relaunching the Tour de France Women this year, what does that represent?
It’s a big shift for women’s cycling, I’m looking forward to future generations. The discipline has evolved and become more professional, it shows in the races. In sporting terms, it was coherent to organize this competition.

” READ ALSO – Alexandre Pasteur and Chloé Nabédian: “Julian Alaphilippe’s baby will boost him for the Tour de France”

Why did you agree to be the director of the event?
I saw that Christian Prudhomme and ASO wanted to make it a real Tour de France, with the caravan and the start villages. And the bike has given me so much that it’s a source of pride to be in this position. The event, broadcast in 190 countries, includes eight stages with, at the end of the day, 250,000 euros in prize money, i.e. an allocation greater than a men’s race of the same duration.

Will you comment on this Tour?
No, I’ll be in the red steering car. France 3 will offer two and a half hours live with Nicolas Geay and Laurent Jalabert on commentary. Marion Hérault-Garnier will be on the bike and Ines Lagdiri to reports.

Netflix will follow teams during the Tour de France Men. What do you think?
Like me, many people are interested in Formula 1 thanks to netflix and Formula 1: Drive to Survive. It will therefore appeal to those who do not know cycling.

Which television consumer are you?
With Julian, we like to watch it in the evening. We follow in particular “Love is in the meadow” Where “Married at First Sight”, it relaxes us. Otherwise, Julian does not miss any television news of TF1 or of France 2. It is our daily meeting.

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