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Interview Yahoo! Sport Christian Prudhomme: it's not a job, for me it's a mission!

Added: tuesday 27 December 2011 at 18:30:00
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    Interview Yahoo! Sport Christian Prudhomme: it's not a job, for me it's a mission!Nowadays we unfortunately more and more often the feeling that it's better to be first to tell something shit than being second telling the truth. Together with the sentence in the title of this article about his work as director of Cycling at ASO, this sentence about journalists is just one of those which highlight Emmanuel Barth's interview with Christian Prudhomme for Yahoo! Sport (published on 12 December).

    This interview, without any hidden agenda's, is about a variety of topics, especially around the Tour de France. From the internationalisation of cycling, via the work of journalists and the Contador case to the Tour de France 2012, Christian Prudhomme comments many current topics in the world of cycling.

    Right from the start of the interview, Christian Prudhomme, not only the director of the Tour de France but also director of Cycling with Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), sets the tone by saying about this role he has with ASO and more largely in the international world of cycling that without any doubt it's not a job, for me it's a mission!

    During the whole interview you can see the guy who's passionate about cycling who is Christian Prudhomme or, as he says it himself in this interview, the guy who's completely crazy about cycling, transpire in his answers to the questions which are not necessarily always easy for a director of the Tour de France.


    The first big theme being discussed in this interview is journalism. As a reminder, Christian Prudhomme is a former journalist himself, graduated at the École supérieure de journalisme de Lille where he was part of the 59th promotion, and has done this work as a sports journalist, especially for France Télévisions, L'Équipe TV which he helped to create in 1998, Europe 1, La Cinq and LCI. This by the way allowed him to become the director of Cycling at ASO.
    Christian Prudhomme
    First of all he explains how it all happened: journalism is the only thing I know and it's the only job which I never wanted to do. I had the chance to become a journalist and to be able to cover the event I always wanted to cover: the Tour de France, as a journalist at the radio first and than on TV. This job allowed me to get to know two big people of the world of sports quite well, on one side Jean-Marie Leblanc (his predecessor at the head of cycling with ASO) et par ailleurs Patrice Clerc (l'ancien patron d'ASO avant Jean-Etienne Amaury and before that responsible for marketing and than director of Roland-Garros) because I was representing the radio journalists at Roland-Garros and since I also covered tennis and rally-raids.

    One day, Jean-Marie came to see me and told me "I would like you to follow me up". I had to digest that first but I rather quickly said "yes"!

    He than gave his vision on journalists nowadays and the sentence Nowadays we unfortunately more and more often the feeling that it's better to be first to tell something shit than being second telling the truth and that's horrible can only be applauded ... unfortunately, many journalists still haven't seem to understood that! Will there ever be a day when this criterion will become more important than the detention or not of a press card to be accredited on a cycling race?

    The internationalisation of cycling

    Another theme which of course had to be part of this interview was of course the internationalisation of which everyone's talking and which for some seems to be the big promise for the future of cycling while for others it means the end of cycling as we know it or even the end of cycling full stop ...

    Emmanuel Barth & Christian PrudhommeFirst of all he said some reassuring words about the Grand Start of the Tour de France from the United States not being on the agenda. Indeed, what Jacques Goddet already saw as something which would happen "soon" at the end of the 80s, this will definitely not happen tomorrow according to Christian Prudhomme even though he did add that the international character of the Tour de France is becoming more and more evident and that's good.

    Concerning the internationalisation on a wider scale and the interest of cycling races like the Tour of Beijing, the Tour of Oman and certain American races, the director of Cycling at ASO answered as follows: The bike is universal but the sport of cycling isn't. In order to live, or even to survive, of even better, to develop, the cycling sport needs to be everywhere around the world.
    There is a need which is also an economic need for the International Cycling Union, in order to obtain approval from the International Olympic Committee, the discipline needs to be present in a certain number of countries.
    So there is a need to develop, but we should make sure there will always be a coherence and especially we should take care of the roots, the passion and enthusiasm which start, indeed, here, from the historical cycling countries, our old Europe, our beautiful old Europe!

    The Tour de France 2012

    There have been quite a lot discussions about the Tour de France 2012 and especially about the fact that the two big mountain areas of France have been left "alone" by the Tour for its 99th edition and that this would be a less mountainous edition (also in your comments on velowire.com!). When Emmanuel Barth asks about this, Christian Prudhomme (after having made a joke about the unfortunate publication, which came too early, of the 2012 race route) first of all underlined that there will not be less mountains than usual but that this feeling is based on the unknown: We really wanted something different, something which never took place before, in 2012 (between the 100th anniversaries of the first visits in the Alps and the Pyreneas and the 100th edition in 2013).

    Christian PrudhommeUntil 2010 we've seen in the Grand Tours an expectational way of cycling. And in some case even a desperating way of cycling compared to the passion and the power we had before, with Bernard Hinault or in my youth with Eddy Merckx, Luis Ocaña or Bernard Thévenet. Here, the idea is really to make sure there will be surprises. The Tour will not be decided after 3 mountain top finishes and one time trial, but in 6, 7, 8 stages with what I call launching slopes. There's an event which really marked me, negatively, that was in the Tour 2010 and the finish on top of Avoriaz, which is a mountain top finish, the first mountain top finish of that Tour, and Andy Schleck attacked at the last kilometer sign, in the last kilometer in a mountain stage with a mountain top finish, that was what in my youth Willy Teirlinck (10 participations in the Tour de France, 5 stage victories in 1972, 1973 and 1976) would have done on the flat, he went on with one kilometer to go and won and triumphed making a fool of the sprinters. For me that's impossible. I so much prefer the Andy Schleck in 2011 who attacked with still 62 kilometers to go, in the climb of the Izoard, who than continued on the Galibier and triumphed. There will be launching slopes which are made for the guys who want to seize their chance, on terrible climbs which will definitely lead to a natural selection, at 30, 25, 40 kilometers from the finish and there, with a little bit of guts, we will see some nice racing and nice stages. I'm certain of that!

    The full interview in video

    After having watched this interview a few weeks ago on the Yahoo! Sport website, I decided to share and promote it because I think it's interesting and touches some "sensible" points. I think I've given you a good idea of what the interview is like with the 3 main themes which are discussed in this interview and hope you'd like to see the rest of it (one of the other themes is "Alberto Contador" and also Christian Prudhomme's idea on some people from the world of cycling where Jean-René Godart gets some bad publicity, in contrast to Thierry Adam who also happens to make some mistakes sometimes ;-) ...).

    I was thus thinking of embedding the video in here or putting up direct a link to the interview, but both turned out to be impossible: embedding is not available on the Yahoo! website and the link one can find on their website doesn't work.

    The best thing I can is thus to ask you to find in the player below, which will be updated with each of the new interviews realised by Emmanuel Barth, the first occurrence (there's two of them) of the following image below the player (with the title L'Interview Yahoo! Sport : Christian Prudhomme; at the time of publication of this article it was the 4th in the list):
    Image interview

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Tour de France| Tour de France 2012 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 4 comments!
  1. Très bon article Thomas , digne d'un très bon journaliste .

    Je suis content de voir que mr Prudhomme desteste lui aussi ces étapes de montagne complétement dénigrer par les coureurs .

    Par contre j'aimerais qu'un jour , il avoue que certaines étapes était mal tracés type Lourdes 2011 ou Pau 2010 . Simple exemple ou peuvent s'ajouter Annonay et Bellegarde 2012 , c'est à dire l'avenir . Esperons mieux pour 2013 , où l'on espere un Tour grandiose en terme d'étapes et d'intensiter avant et pendant la course .

    Sur ce je vais aller poster le Giro finis sur le nouveau site fraîchement creer . Encore merci pour celui-ci .

    | bapt77 | wednesday 28 December 2011 at 12:09:15

  2. Bellegarde 2012 pour lui est bien tracée, puisqu'il dit "Il y a des rampes de lancement qui sont faites pour que les gens saisissent leur chance, sur des pentes terribles qui font qu'il y ait une sélection qui sera naturelle quoi qu'il arrive, à 30, 25, 40 kilomètres de l'arrivée", soit le Grand Colombier pour cette étape ... et accessoirement je partage son opinion ici. On va voir si les coureurs vont dénigrer ce tremplin ou non.

    | Mrmoving | wednesday 28 December 2011 at 18:37:32

  3. Cette interview prouve que Mr Prudhomme (s'il avat à le prouver) était un organisateur plus qu'on businessman-manager, même s'il doit gérer cet aspect.
    Reste aux coureurs de refaire de la montagne un terrain de spectacle... Si seulement le coup d'A.Schleck dans l'Izoard était plus fréquent...

    | Florian | thursday 12 January 2012 at 20:59:43

  4. Ce n'est pas un commentaire mais plutôt une question. J'ai le sentiment profond que le tour de france cuvée 2012 nous offre un vainqueur sans grand panache. J'ai en effet le sentiment que le tour de france s'est couru davantage dans les voitures suiveuses et les oreillettes que sur les vélos même si je ne nie pas l'effort des coureurs (voir l'ipnetpie froom-wiggings). La course semble plus basée sur la spéculation, la tactique, tout cela engendré par la fameuse oreillette. Merckx, Hinault et bien d'autres n'avaient pas besoin de cette techniqur pour être de vrais champions. Allez-vous interdire l'oreillette en 2013. Ce ne serait que positif pour le sport. Merci.

    | jacques LEJEUNE | sunday 22 July 2012 at 11:49:08

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