AG2R LA MONDIALE
Iwas happy to spend the last month of the season racing again, after my injury at the Tour. Things went well enough that I could even show my face off the front of the bunch from time to time. My last block of 2017 came mainly in Italy, starting on 1 October. A lot of riders are winding down their seasons but I was really motivated to get going. I hope I can carry that positive attitude through into my training for 2018.
I ended up racing one day on, one day off for the first seven days of the month. I rode the GP Beghelli and Tre Valli Varesine and was happy with how they went – I felt like I was getting some racing rhythm back. MilanoTorino went even better – I was able to attack on the climbs and I felt like I was having an effect on the race, rather than following. I couldn’t follow Urán’s attack, but at least I’d had a head start by attacking first. I finished ninth – my first top 10 in a road race since stage 1 of the Critérium du Dauphiné. That showed that I wasn’t chasing form any more – I was on top of it.
Then I got selected for Lombardia. It’s a bit longer, so my role was to support the team. Unfortunately we lost Jan Bakelants to a very nasty crash, and he was badly hurt, though when you look at the circumstances, we should be thankful the consequences weren’t worse. On the positive side, the team pulled together well and we had Alexis Vuillermoz and Domenico Pozzovivo in the group of seven who sprinted for third. They were fourth and sixth in the end – a shame to miss the podium, but Nibali is in a class of his own in that race. Mathias Frank was also up there, so Ag2r put on a good show.
I rounded off my season back in France, at the Chrono des Nations. Riding a 50km time trial at this time of year is never easy, but I wanted to show off my national champion’s jersey one more time before the winter break. My legs were okay, and I got sixth. Not stellar, but there’ll be more to come next year. However, not before I go on holiday – I’ve heard Bali is very nice at this time of year, and I’m going to find out!
Pierre was motivated to return to racing at the Italian one- day races