Procycling - - Prologue -

I ’m fresh from my fourth place fin­ish at Étoile de Bessèges, which made me happy be­cause I’d been in­jured over the win­ter, so I wasn’t ex­pect­ing to go well. They say it’s the small things that get you; I broke my fifth metatarsal at our De­cem­ber train­ing camp by slip­ping on a flight of stairs on the rest day. The break meant three days off the bike, then some in­ter­minable ses­sions on the home trainer. To get the vol­ume I needed with­out go­ing mad, I rode in short chunks two or three times a day. I also went for lots of long walks too, which did me a lot of good. I was back on the bike out­side af­ter three weeks or so, and I’ll be care­ful on stairs in fu­ture.

I started feel­ing good again at the Jan­uary train­ing camp, and my form was start­ing to come back, but form at a train­ing camp isn’t the same as form in a race. Hap­pily, the Étoile went well – I was well looked af­ter by my team when the race split up one day. I had Rudy Bar­bier and Sa­muel Du­moulin look­ing af­ter me – Sam is very ex­pe­ri­enced and their help, along with good sen­sa­tions in my legs, kept me up there.

In the end, it came down to the time trial. I was third there, which is an­other good sign. You could say that I kept my­self in the race with good tac­tics and team­work, and then the time trial showed that I was good phys­i­cally. Dis­ap­pointed not to fin­ish on the podium? Not re­ally – Lil­ian [Calme­jane] and Tony [Gal­lopin] were go­ing bet­ter than me, and I think fourth was my place. It was bet­ter than I’d ex­pected. Then I got ill straight af­ter­wards, but noth­ing se­ri­ous.

Lil­ian, the Étoile win­ner, and I go back years – we raced to­gether as espoirs, and he’s al­ready do­ing good things as a pro, like that Vuelta stage 4 win last year. I know quite a lot of the other rid­ers from my generation, but I’m par­tic­u­larly close to Axel Domont, be­cause we came through the same cy­cling club, Vélo Sprint Ro­manais Péa­geois in Drôme, which has an il­lus­tri­ous alumni.

Next up is the Tour du Haut Var, which will have fin­ished by the time you read this. Maybe I can im­prove on my fourth place in Bessèges.

Pierre sur­prises him­self with his fourth place at Étoile de Bessèges

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