On the eve of the arrival on the Champs-Élysées, it is time to take stock of the French. In the general classification, David Gaudu finished 4th, while Romain Bardet won a place in the top 10. For his part, Christophe Laporte brought the only tricolor victory in this 2022 edition, despite numerous attempts by Thibaut Pinot.
After three intense weeks since the start in Copenhagen, the Tour de France 2022 will definitely lower the curtain this Sunday, during the 21st stage which will arrive on the Champs-Élysées. Fortunes have been mixed for the French clan, especially for Groupama-FDJ. The formation of Marc Madiot can have a smile, since David Gaudu finished 4th in the Grande Boucle, nearly 14 minutes behind Jonas Vingegaard. The Breton was able to show character in the high mountain stages to lose as little time as possible on the main favorites and distance riders such as Nairo Quintana, Adam Yates or Aleksandr Vlasov.
“It’s time for the Tour to end because I was tired, he admitted on RMC at the arrival of the time trial in Rocamadour. I’m quite proud to finish 4th in the Tour de France. We can finally take a breather, tell yourself that tomorrow is the Champs. It will be fun. We will be able to take advantage of it tonight. The pressure at the start of the Tour? We managed to be consistent, to avoid glitches, falls… We are very happy with these performances.”
>> Relive the 20th stage of the Tour de France
New top 10 for Bardet, frustrated Pinot
On the other hand, Thibaut Pinot was much less cheerful at the finish of the 20th stage, after his 52nd place on the clock. “Pfff, it wasn’t great, really not a great time. Afterwards, I wasn’t too into it. I’m happy that the Tour is over. There are no surprises: on a time like that, a big time of specialists, you have to have watts and when you don’t have them, it’s complicated.” In search of a stage victory on this Tour de France, the Franc-Comptois tried a lot, got rid of the status of leader of his training, but he failed, like the climb to Hautacam, during the 18th stage.
Behind Gaudu, Romain Bardet allows France to have a second rider in the top 10 of the general classification since he finishes the Grande Boucle in 7th place by 10 seconds ahead of Louis Meintjes. A 6th top 10 in nine participations for the former AG2R rider, who was not necessarily aiming for the general classification at home after his retirement during the Giro.
Laporte saves honor
We had to wait for the 19th stage and the finish in Cahors to see a Frenchman raise his arms, in the person of Christophe Laporte. A model teammate for Wout Van Aert and Jonas Vingegaard, the Habs pulled off a masterful coup in the last few hundred meters to claim their first victory in the Grande Boucle. Winner of the first stage of Paris-Nice, second in Ghent-Wevelgem, ninth in the Tour of Flanders, he has established himself as a centerpiece of his new formation. “I’m really struggling to realize, I’m super happy, the team trusted me, Wout (van Aert) said to me: ‘It’s for you today’. The last time I he told me that it was in Paris-Nice, so here it brings me luck”, he had reacted to the microphone of RMC.
It is also a relief for the French clan, who feared to start again on a terrible zero point. Only twice in the history of the Tour, in 1926 and 1999, France has finished the Grande Boucle without any victory.