Deceuninck – Quick-Step’s “TGV of Clermont-Ferrand” talked about the day he became French Road Race Champion.
“That day was insane and a long time after the race concluded I couldn’t believe what had happened. My main goal during the Nationals week had been the individual time trial and missing out on that left me very disappointed and frustrated.”
“The road race was a strange one, and the rain only added to the difficulty of the course, which was stacked with short hills. I was at the start together with Julian and Florian, so on paper we didn’t stand a chance against the other teams who had 10, 15 or even 20 riders. The plan was for me to be in the breakaway, as we knew it was almost impossible for us to control the race. It was a strange race with the breakaway going all the way to the finish. Our plan was for me to be in the front group, as we knew it wasn’t easy to control on this route, so I attacked soon after the start and went up the road together with other guys.”
“Our initial gap was a comfortable one, but we weren’t expecting to hold a solid margin inside the final hour of the race, so from that moment on, as our chances of making it became bigger, I began thinking of the right moment to make my move. I did that with around 15 kilometers to and continued to press on as soon as a short glance over the shoulder showed the gap was widening. To arrive alone at the finish, clear of the other breakaway riders and of an entire peloton was incredible, kind of surreal, as I wasn’t expecting any of these at the start of the day.”
“Winning the road title just days after losing the ITT gave me goosebumps and immense pride. As I went on the podium, knowing that this beautiful jersey would be mine for twelve months, filled my heart with joy. It was a crazy day, one that I will always remember!”
Photo credit: ©Thomas Maheux