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Jérémy Roy: Paris-Nice - undeciced until the final time trial! (interview)

Added: thursday 01 March 2012 at 21:24:00
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    Jérémy Roy: Paris-Nice - undeciced until the final time trial! (interview)The 2012 season has now well started and I thus thought it was about time to get back in touch with Jérémy Roy. Indeed, this year again, Jérémy accepted to regularly publish some interviews or other articles on velowire.com. We left him on the roads around Moussy-le-Vieux in December.

    In this interview, we get back on the start of the season and we take a look at the Paris-Nice edition which was about to start at the moment we did this interview ...

    VW : When we take a look back, what does a rider like you do during the winter period?
    JR : The winter period always goes by very quickly. I got off my bike for three weeks. From there, I got back on my back at my mountain bike race, organised by my club and my fan club. That's always quite a hard comeback, 60 kilometers on a mountain bike. After that race, I progressively got back into my usual rhythm until the first training camp in Moussy where we started to do longer distances.
    I did however manage to spend some quality time with my familly, with my baby girl and my wife who was on parental leave, so that was a very good period for me!

    Jérémy RoyVW : We had a winter with quite high temperatures up until a certain moment. Does that change anything for you in your winter programme?
    JR : Since I was planned to start in Australia, I was able to train for that in very good conditions ... until I came back to France when things got more complicated with snow and very low temperatures at the end of January. In my departement I was not able to get out because of the snow and the fact that they didn't clear the roads. During one week I only rode my mountain bike and a bit on the hometrainer. I didn't want to take the risk on the road, it's very dangerous, especially on the sides of the road, that's really bad ...

    VW : So you indeed started competitions again in the Tour Down Under in South-Australia. You must have been quite happy with the high temperatures you get there early in the season?
    JR : Yes, I love it when it's hot, so that's really not a problem for me! We had nice weather, high temperatures, everything was OK to make this first race a success and to ride my bike as I like it. I went to Australia with quite important ambitions, to get the first points for the WorldTour, either in a stage or in the general classification. But I got a bit surprised in the Willunga stage where the bunch was split up but .. only after the first climb, on the flat part on top. I was riding in 25th position and in the end, a group of 20 started the last climb in a group together .. it broke up just ahead of me and I haven't been able to bridge the gap.
    I was thus a bit disappointed in this stage because I think I could have done a top 15 there, at least. It's not really my kind of ideal finish because it was uphill but I had good feelings there.

    The other days it was a bit more complicated to get a good ranking in the stage because it often ended in a sprint, with quite a bunch, exept for a stage where we finished at about 50 riders together and where I ended 11th
    (that was the the 4th stage between Norwood and Tanunda), the stage was won by Oscar Freire.

    Jérémy RoyVW : Australia still is a country which is relatively new to pro cycling at that level. Can you describe us the general atmosphere there? Is cycling as popular there as in France or in Belgium for example?
    JR : The Tour Down Under is really very popular. The organisation is perfect, they managed to develop all kind of things around the race: there's the amateur stage of the Tour Down Under, the saloon, access to the stands where everyone can discover how we take care of the bikes. The particular thing of that race is that we're all staying in the same hotel and every day in the same place, so it's easier to create some entertainment around the race. The stands of the teams are in a big tent, so that allows to create a people flow around it. They also developed the merchandising around the Tour Down Under, so that brings in quite a lot of people as well. On the other hand, at the starts and finishes, there's quite a lot of people. Except from those places, during the race there's definitely less people, but you still see it's quite popular.

    VW : You mentioned the good quality of the organisation. Today this race has the UCI WorldTour status, which puts it at the same level as for example Paris-Nice, Tirreno-Adriatico or the Critérium du Dauphiné. Do you think that's really the status which corresponds to this race which is historically reserved for pure sprinters*?
    JR : I must admit it's quite strange to immediately start with a ProTour** race. The points are most often for the sprinters which are in good shape early in the season, for other riders it's not easy to get those points. However, this year's general classification was a little bit different since there was this uphill finish. Of course it's not a high mountain stage, it's still quite easy but we've seen quite some time differences there, so that's good, it changes from what we're used to.

    However, in order to really reach a level similar to Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné, I think they at least need a short time trial ...

    * even though this year, the organisation did some efforts to change that, with the uphill finish on Willunga Hill
    ** no, Jérémy, it's called UCI WorldTour since 2 years now ;-)

    Jérémy Roy, always available to sign some autographsVW : Back in France, you made your comeback in the Tour Med. The weather conditions were not exactly the same since we saw snow falling on this race and this lead to some important modifications in the race route. Did that bother the team in your strategy which I think was around Yauheni Hutarovich for the sprint finishes and Thibaut Pinot for the Mont Faron which was finally not part of the race?
    JR : Indeed, the snow gave birth to quite a lot of changes, but we didn't really get bothered by it when we were on the bike. Of course it was cold, but it was a dry cold so that's not really a problem, we dressed up for it, it would have been worse if we had melting snow falling on us. The roads were at some places under the snow and there was some ice on the roads as well. The organisor did take the right decisions rather quickly in order to prevent us from taking any risk and I would like to congratulate him for that!

    Concerning the race, it often ends in a sprint so we indeed had our own sprinter who was supposed to try to win some stages. We often took the lead in the race in order to control it and set the pace. In the final stage we indeed put our bets on Thibaut Pinot and maybe also on Rémi Pauriol but since we didn't climb the Faron, we ended on a hill which was less steep than the Faron so he was of course a bit disappointed ... However, I don't think we can say the winner would have been different when we look at what he did there.

    VW : So it ended with a red flag on top of this hill ... The Tour Med was won by Jonathan Tiernan-Locke who than continued, just like you, with the two stages of the Tour du Haut Var. He made quite an impression there again, especially in the second stage, and he again won the general classification. Did you know him before this season?
    JR : No, no, I didn't know him at all because he was racing for Rapha-Condor last year and I think I didn't do any races with them. This year he's with Endura but I didn't really know him. He stopped riding for 3 years, I think between 2006 and 2009. Since we didn't know him we asked around a bit to know what he did before, the journalists did their investigation so we read what was written in the newspapers.

    VW : So you learned that last year he already showed his good form in the Tour of Britain where he finished 6th .. and he makes quite an impressive start this year!
    JR : Yes, winning races or stages like him with a good place in the stage and general classifications by finishing alone, there's quite a difference, he's really impressive!

    VW : And looking back at your Tour du Haut Var, you got in a breakaway again, right?
    JR : Yes, in the second stage, I was in a breakaway in a group of 16 so it was important to represent the team there. In the breakaway there were some attacks after 120 kilometers, I ended up in a duo with Arashiro, and than at 5 and some others joined us. Finally we all got back together in only a few kilometers. At 40 kilometers from the finish, the rest of the breakaway got back on us, followed by the peloton and that was the end of the day for me, I did quite some work already and the pace was quite high in the final part of the stage ...

    Rémi PauriolVW : Your last race so far was the Boucles du Sud Ardèche last Sunday. This race ended with a very good result for your team FDJ BigMat: victory for Rémi Pauriol, but also a second place for Arthur Vichot, who was last year's winner?
    JR : Yes, that was really cool ... We knew that Rémi was in good shape because we did a timed test on the Col d'Eze and he exploded everything. He even passed me and ended one minute 30 faster so I was a bit disappointed at the end of the training, but that's part of the game, training is part of our job ... Arthur, coming back from his injuries***, the directeurs sportifs didn't really know whether he was in shape or not but we thought he was because he almost immediately got back on the hometrainer and then on the road, he looked really healthy at our training camp and during the training camp he was in good shape. In the race, I got in some breakaways, we ended up in a group of 30 riders in the final part of the race and that group slowly got smaller. Since I knew my two colleagues were in good shape and since I did quite some work before the last lap, I gave everything for them in the last lap since I knew I couldn't win it. They ended up one and two so that was perfect. They did a good job to end it up without me!

    *** in a crash in the Étoile de Bessèges, Arthur Vichot broke his collarbone

    Yauheni HutarovichVW : You mentioned the Col d'Eze and the training you did there. If we have a look at the future, Paris-Nice 2012 starts on Sunday. Do you have any particular goals there?
    JR : I think we'll have two goals: a stage win for (Yauheni) Hutarovich and a good place in the general classification for (Rémi) Pauriol and (Arnold) Jeannesson. In addition to that, riders like Sandy (Casar) and me will have some freedom to try to get in a breakaway and get a stage win like that, but it will mainly be for our sprinter Huta and the two riders for the general classification.

    VW : The last stage will be the comeback of the "historical" time trial on the Col d'Eze. You did a recognition and training ride there recently, are you happy with this difficult time trial at the end of the race?
    JR : (giggling) No! It's really hard. Right from the start there's two kilometers which are quite steep, than there's a flatter part and it starts climbing again before ending on a final kilometer flat. It's never easy to manage a mountain time trial, you must not spend all your energy at the foot of the climb, because in that case you'll never get on top since you don't recover from the efforts in a climb. So it's quite a special effort, what more is at the end of the week, after 8 days of racing, it's quite particular. It's good that there's a time trial, it gives a bit of change compared to the classical Nice > Nice final stage which was also difficult. Getting back to tradition is not a bad idea. That was what made Paris-Nice famous. Paris-Nice will probably not be decided until that time trial!

    VW : Indeed, this last stage could have quite a big influence on the general classification?
    JR : Yes, there might be quite some time differences in that climb yes, that's for sure!

    The FDJ BigMat teamVW : Did you do any other recognition rides on the stages of Paris-Nice?
    JR : No, just the final part of the Sisteron > Nice stage, the 60 last kilometers since we were in Nice anyway for the recognition ride on the Col d'Eze ...

    VW : Finally, who will be your team mates in this 70th edition of the race to the sun, in addition to for example Hutarovich who you mentioned before?
    JR : There will be (Pierrick) Fédrigo as well who will be eager to win a stage. A part from them, there will be Cédric Pineau, Sandy Casar, Arnold Jeannesson, Rémi Pauriol, Anthony Geslin and me ...

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    this article appears in the following categories: Catching up with Jérémy Roy| Paris-Nice 2012 | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati


Currently 1 comments!
  1. http://www.les-actus-du-cyclisme.fr/article-jeremy-roy-paris-nice-indecis-jusqu-au-chrono-interview-101264101.html

    | Roland TISSIER | friday 09 March 2012 at 16:46:05

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