Two key pieces in the Blues group: Sebastien Vigier for the sprint, Benjamin Thomas for endurance, lead the French team in the World Track Cycling Championships, Wednesday to Sunday, at the Berlin velodrome.
Twenty-one years after the French raid at the previous World Championships in Berlin (7 titles out of a maximum of 12 possible!), The French track seeks to revive its past glory. And, even more, to prepare the best for the objective of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics (July 24-August 9), more than ever in mind five months from the deadline.
“I don’t necessarily have a medal goal even if we all have them,” concedes Mathilde Gros, bronze medalist last year but whose progress has been halted lately.
“If there is one so much the better, otherwise you have to go as far as possible in each discipline to score the most points.” And definitely secure the famous quotas for Tokyo.
Vigier, too, refers to the Games when he must favor an event in the three entered in his sprint program: “Team speed of course. This is where we have great chances of a medal. the objective of the Olympics, it will be the most important. “
– Untouchables Netherlands –
“We did some tests, these are the best we have had in training since we have been together. I hope we can go down to 42 sec 6 or less, we would get a lot closer to the British”, he added. Knowing that the Netherlands is likely to be untouchable and the British progressing appreciably like Jason Kenny, the double Olympic speed champion, an expert in getting back in shape at the right time.
In Berlin, in the enclosure designed by the French architect Dominique Perrault and opened in 1997, the Dutch sprint is scary. Harrie Lavreysen, the young (22 years old) titleholder did not take away the general classification of the World Cup won by the Polish Mateusz Rudyk. But, in each of his three appearances, he won by defeating the same opponent in the final, his compatriot Jeffrey Hoogland. With Roy van den Berg at the start for the team speed and Matthijs Buchli holding the keirin title, the “Oranje” have the cards in hand.
Forced to be satisfied with a single title last year, thanks to the impeccable Quentin Lafargue on the non-Olympic discipline of the kilometer, the French delegation expects a lot of endurance this time. Of Thomas especially, able to shine on both the omnium and the American as at the 2017 Worlds (twice gold medalist).
If the recall of Corentin Ermenault strengthens the quartet of the team pursuit (but the Olympic quota is almost inaccessible), it is indeed the French time trial champion who has the best chances despite the sharp competition (Viviani, C. Meyer, van Schip and Stewart in the open). With, in the American, Donavan Grondin (19 years old) preferred to Bryan Coquard and Morgan Kneisky. National coach Steven Henry warned: “If the pair of Berlin are very successful, it can be a big step forward.” For Tokyo, again and again.