Tour de France – Cyrille Guimard: “The French riders doubt themselves”

Tour de France - Cyrille Guimard : «Les coureurs français doutent d

“The Druid” Cyrille Guimard is back on Cyclism’News for its traditional and regular chronicle… and the Grand Départ of the 109th Tour de Francewhich will start on Friday with a time trial in the streets of Copenhagen (Denmark)! The Druidconsulting for RMC Sports and BFM-TV So Tour de France 2022spoke on many subjects, including the absence from this 2022 edition of the double world champion and darling of the French, Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team). Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), the main opponents of the double title holder, the threat of Covid… Cyrille Guimard had a lot to say before this Big loop.

Video – The Grand Départ of the Tour de France, annoyed Guimard and analysis

“Julian Alaphilippe? The decision that was taken is wise, logical”

Cyrille, Julian Alaphilippe will not be on the Tour de France. Did you expect such a choice from the leaders of the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl Team?

What I would not have understood is that it is selected. There are two things that must be integrated concerning Alaphilippe. First of all, Julian’s legitimate desire to be in the greatest play in the world of cycling sport, the Tour de France. He is someone who needs to create emotion, so I understand that he wanted to go there. Besides that, there are other laws, and in particular the physiological laws […] The decision that was taken is wise, logical, and I think the direct management and the coaches were in agreement with this solution. I also believe that Franck Alaphilippe (cousin and trainer of Julian Alaphilippenote) did not really want him to go on the roads of the Tour.

For a runner who hasn’t redone enough workloads, it’s still dangerous to go on a three-week race. It’s not the French Championship, a race where he was in the wheels – he also knows how to take shelter – and where he showed himself two laps from the end. It was perfect for a comeback, but it’s not three days of curbs in Denmark, plus the cobblestones and the mountains behind. It’s still better to see him preparing for the end of the season, with the possibility of victory at the World Championships, on the Tour of Lombardy or the Tour of Spain rather than seeing him give up on the climb of the Planche des Belles Girls…

“If it’s to be in front of the broom wagon every day…”

The most important thing is the rider’s health and his ability to seek his best level in the next two months. As world champion, you don’t start the Tour if you are not able to live up to this jersey. I don’t think that at any given time, the leaders of the Quick-Step and Franck Alaphilippe could have imagined that he could be competitive in the Tour de France. If it’s to be in front of the broom wagon every day, he better be in front of the television and go to practice in the morning. And after August it will be ready.

“I find that we have French runners who doubt themselves, their abilities”

If Julian Alaphilippe will not be there, Romain Bardet, Thibaut Pinot, Guillaume Martin and David Gaudu will be present. Do you see one of these four riders playing for the podium or very close to the podium?

Yes, everything is possible, in the sense that there is Denmark to pass and the eleven cobblestone sectors. We can really talk about a podium, top 5 or top 10 after the Arenberg stage. Until then, anything can happen, it’s Russian roulette! We will have to do a zero point after the cobblestone stage, and then we can say who can and who cannot. But in my opinion, the one who has the most chances, and especially on what we saw in the Tour of Italy, is Romain Bardet. It is he who gives the most assurances. David Gaudu, he has to get through the first stages without any problems, and Guillaume Martin, we saw that he has a very particular way of racing, but everyone can aim for the top 10. As for Thibaut Pinot, everything will depend on the role that we will give him with Gaudu and his personal ambitions.

Regarding Thibaut Pinot, we see him running strangely since the start of the season. He won two races but he didn’t bet on the general classifications at all. What do you think ?

I think above all that he is looking for himself… Admittedly, he wins a stage in the Tour of the Alps and another in the Tour of Switzerland, but by being the strongest of the breakaway and not of the peloton. We must therefore not be mistaken about the value of these victories and take a good look at how he got them and against what opposition. That said, these are two very good victories and he needed them to get back in the game. But can we say that he will play for the victory of the Tour thanks to that, it seems a little difficult to claim it. Today, I don’t feel he has the capacity to compete in the general classification of the Tour de France.

More generally, seeing some say that they do not want to play the general (Romain Bardet declared in particular not to be “obsessed with the general classification as in the Giro”, editor’s note), I find that we have French runners who doubt themselves, their abilities. This means that they will attack the Tour de France with a mind that is not that of a rider who wants to win the general classification or who wants to be in the general classification.

“We must not tell stories, Vingegaard thinks of winning the Tour”

There is one of whom we have no doubt that he will play the general, it is Tadej Pogacar. Will he win his third consecutive Tour de France?

All lights are green. He has a good team, he is calm, he runs well and it will be difficult to trap him in the borders. For the past three years, he’s been doing what he wants in the races where he wants to be ahead. Afterwards, the risks of the Danish country are the same for everyone, no one is immune. And the massive falls in the first stages do not necessarily choose only the worst riders, as we have seen in recent years… But Pogacar is still the one who has the most assets in his game to get a third win.

Who are the runners who can threaten him?

There are two riders at Jumbo-Visma, Primoz Roglic and Jonas Vingegaard, who feel they can win the Tour. At some point, however, a choice will have to be made between one or the other, even if it seems done on paper and according to declarations. Afterwards, egos are not managed like that, and your best teammate can sometimes become your best enemy. On the Critérium du Dauphiné, Vingegaard seemed to be a little above Roglic, so… We are on the Tour de France, with all the consequences that entails if you win or if you do not win. So we shouldn’t tell stories, Vingegaard is thinking of winning the Tour, he would do the Tour of Spain otherwise.

“The Covid? The way things are done, it disturbs me”

Finally, there is a big threat hanging over this 109th Tour de France, it’s the Covid…

It’s a sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of riders, teams, managers and even Tour de France organizers. Personally, I have the impression that in many areas and subjects, we are still a little manipulated. More than 40 riders left the Tour de Suisse for Covid reasons, except that the number of positive and asymptomatic cases is not 40 but only a few, but as a precaution we withdraw the complete team. The way things are done disturbs me.

Can we run to disaster on this Tour with the Covid? A positive test and it’s home.

Here is the problem. I personally tested positive without having any symptoms and that didn’t stop me from going cycling, I continued without any problem. When a footballer, imagine Mbappé at PSG, tests positive, will PSG stop playing for 15 days? No, and yet that’s the reality of cycling, when there are so many positive tests among footballers or rugby players. We have never stopped a team from playing or training. I would like to understand why what happens to us does not happen to others.


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