If the French failed to retain the world crown, they leave Wollongong (Australia) with a silver medal, thanks to Christophe Laporte.
This second place even surprised the Var, disconcerted like the observers by the appearance of the end of a race logically won by the Belgian Remco Evenepoel.
This is the fourth world podium for the Blues in four years, after Romain Bardet's silver in 2018 and Julian Alaphilippe's titles in 2020 and 2021.
Why lie ?
It is not a question here of plagiarizing the title of the truculent autobiography of Rolland Courbis released in 2007, but of freeing oneself from a weight.
In our morning live this Sunday, our first title just after the arrival of the new world champion on the Wollongong finish line was: "The Belgian prodigy Remco Evenepoel crowned, the Blues draw a blank..." Barely time to update the article, look up at our TV and bam… Christophe Laporte appeared out of nowhere to settle an unexpected sprint and win a silver medal from the sky.
Admittedly, we had seen that the immediate pursuers of Evenepoel looked at each other so much that they forgot to advance in the last kilometer.
But the Australian production (yes, you have to find someone guilty to get rid of your dumpling) had overlooked the peloton of enraged people who caught up with, then swallowed the timorous.
What reassures us is that even the main interested party fell from the clouds: “We didn't really expect it, it was a really strange final, confessed Laporte to AFP.
When I crossed the line, I didn't really know where I was.
After a stunning sprint, Christophe Laporte 🇫🇷 takes second place in these Worlds!
#LesRP #Wollongong2022 pic.twitter.com/HohzJ9ejVY
– Eurosport France (@Eurosport_FR) September 25, 2022
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And that's how the teammate at Jumbo Visma of Wout van Aert (finally 4th, the cursed place), recent winner of the Tour of Denmark, ranked second when we had hardly seen him in the race.
The Var Zorro has made a specialty of saving national honor, after winning the penultimate stage of the Tour de France this summer in Cahors to avoid a humiliating zero point.
Evenepoel took advantage of the French hyperactivity
This Sunday, many other Tricolores, on the other hand, showed themselves on the 259.5 km of the route on the edge of the Pacific.
Four of them (Romain Bardet, Pavel Sivakov, Florian Sénéchal and Quentin Pacher) even figured for a time in the leading group from which Evenepoel was to leave.
The 22-year-old prodigy, recent winner of the Vuelta, took advantage of the French hyperactivity, in particular that of Pacher, to slip into the first breakaway without forcing too much, before making his class speak to knock out the competition, at 25 km from the finish.
“I tried to mark Remco as long as possible, slipped Bardet, too fair to believe in a new world podium, four years after his mortifying second place in Innsbruck, behind Alejandro Valverde.
I've been there three or four times but it surprised me on the flat.
He took 10 yards and I could never stop.
Alaphilippe, dethroned but not disappointed
All the Blues have also pledged allegiance to the new king of the world, starting with Julian Alaphilippe, dethroned but hardly upset monarch.
“Today we have no regrets because the strongest has won, launched Alaf ', whose presence at the antipodes was already a small miracle after a cursed season.
But we are still second and it's a good second place.
“We had a great collective, we had a great race, we created movement, we were where we needed to be, after that, it's not just anyone in front, he continued.
It is no coincidence that Remco wins.
He had an extraordinary season.
I'm very, very happy for him and that the shirt stays in the [Quick Step] team.
“Today, we can do any race, even wait for the last lap, and we would have had the same winner, assured coach Thomas Voeckler.
It's not always the case but the strongest of the whole peloton has won and his victory is well deserved.
Even if the titles won by Alaphilippe in 2020 and 2021 have not made small this year, the boss of the France team did not hide his satisfaction tinged with surprise.
While Evenepoel's decisive attack left his men powerless, unable to slip into the first group of pursuers, the Blues still left Australia with a beautiful silver medal, their fourth charm in the last five Worlds .
Voeckler thought, however, that "it was screwed up and that we weren't even going to bring back a Top 5 or Top 8".
Yes really, apart from the logical coronation of the Brussels “Little Cannibal”, it was a strange race.
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