INFOGRAPHICS. Tour de France 2022: To what extent did the French miss their Grande Boucle?

2022, year zero for French cycling on the Grande Boucle? Granted, Christophe Laporte salvaged the honor by winning the Cahors stage with three days to go, and David Gaudu took a solid fourth place overall. The Varois of the Jumbo and the Bretons of the Groupama FDJ team are like trees that hide the forest.

Alongside the meager harvest on the stages, the tricolores were quickly outstripping the distinctive jerseys (the general’s leader’s yellow, the general’s best youngster’s white, the best sprinter’s green, and the best climber’s white with red dots). ). Franceinfo takes stock of the blues after the passage of the Champs-Elysées on Sunday 24th July.

Behind the only stage win there is a lack of good shots

It took a Cador’s teammate, Christophe Laporte, to get an exit coupon from the Jumbo-Visma on a transitional stage in extreme cases for a French rider to raise his arms on this Grande Boucle. However, winning stages without necessarily aiming for a place in the general classification was the ambition of the French leaders (Thibaut Pinot, Romain Bardet, Warren Barguil…) before the big farewell to Copenhagen. But not everything went as planned. The mountain, the usual playground of the French, rejected them. And double world champion Julian Alaphilippe, the man who used to unlock the counter, is sorely missing this year.

In defense of tricolor cycling, we note that the best odds in the sprint are Arnaud Démare (three wins at the Giro in spring), Nacer Bouhanni (recovering from a fall) and even Bryan Coquard (defeated by Covid-19 the day before the start) , not to mention the status of Christophe Laporte’s team member in the yellow jersey, does not make it possible to achieve a number of podiums, unlike other years. Hence the meager number of places in the top 3 of the stages.

Zero points for the striking jerseys too

Even more worryingly, no French rider wore the yellow, white, green or polka dot jersey during the three weeks. A first compared to a recent past where the best climber’s tunic sometimes became a consolation for riders who fell short overall, like Romain Bardet, who was victorious in 2019.

Let’s not even talk about the flourishing years, when Thomas Voeckler offered epics in yellow and Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque had made polka dots into a three-color canned food. Record of this kind in 2004, where Voeckler had accumulated yellow and white for ten days when Virenque dominated the peas in the second part of the race (winning this classification for the seventh time in ten years). Result this year: 35 distinctive jerseys worn by a Frenchman across the 21 stages, compared to the total absence of the Frenchman in the additional classifications this year.

Even the price of combat readiness is denied to the French

When we’ve dropped the general classification, the additional classifications, the stage wins, we’re left with the good old runaway “show shirt” (and sponsor) just to scratch the fighting spirit. An honorary award that rewards the most prominent runner of each stage and is awarded by a dedicated jury. At the end of the three weeks of racing, a “super fighter” is also chosen for all his work, especially on the breakaways. But this year the Tricolores are again offering a small vintage.

It must be said that the big favorite for the final trophy remains Belgian ogre Wout Van Aert, omnipresent, even omnipotent on this Tour and guaranteed to win the green jersey when he crosses the finish line in Paris on Sunday night. Attacking almost every day, the most versatile rider in the peloton also wore the yellow jersey early in the race and was not far from donning the polka dot jersey at the end of Thursday’s final mountain stage in Hautacam.

Places in the top 10 of the final overall classification as consolation

To see the can half full, you have to look at the overall rating. Because with his courageous provisional fourth place, David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) behind the untouchable Christopher Froome achieved the best performance of a tricolor driver since Romain Bardet’s podium places (2nd 2016, 3rd 2017). This year the same Romain Bardet managed to join him in the top 10 with a good 8th place.


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