Although the queen stage didn’t go their way, “La Conti” Groupama-FDJ completed on Sunday a very good 2024 edition of the Alpes Isère Tour. Noah Hobbs claimed two victories and won the event’s green jersey, while Maxime Decomble secured the top 20 overall (16th) after the last day of racing.

Before the great fight anticipated on Sunday, a final opportunity for the breakaway or the sprinters was due on Saturday on the Alpes Isère Tour to Roussillon. Despite 1800 metres of elevation on the menu, “La Conti” was hoping for a small bunch sprint at the end of stage 4. It did not happen. This time, the fugitives got it right. “Three riders from the breakaway made it to the end,” said Jérôme. “There was also a small, steep climb in the final which made a small selection in the peloton, and we were not able to do what we had planned”. Noah Hobbs then took 18th place, 23 seconds after the winner, in a peloton which also included Maxime Decomble and Colin Savioz. Those two were therefore right on track before tackling the big mountain stage, on Sunday, with four passes before reaching Le Bourg d’Oisans. “This was time for the climbers,” confirmed Jérôme. “We had three or four of them in the team, mostly very young, and it was a discovery for some. The goal was to follow the best for as long as possible, and for Joshua to take the breakaway if there was an opportunity at the start of the race.” The Briton did fulfill his mission, since after a fast start and the downhill of the Col de la Porte, he found himself in the lead within a four-man group.

“A greater team commitment”, Jérôme Gannat

However, his attempt however came to an end shortly after the start of the Col de la Morte (15 km at 6.7%). “He fell, had to change bikes and ended up at the back,” Jérôme explained. “Then, it was controlled by the leaders’ teams,” added the French sports director. “There was a big selection and there were only forty riders left in the Col d’Ornon. We still had three, it wasn’t so bad. Then, at the bottom of the Pas de la Confession (13.6 km at 6%), there were still some thirty men and Max Bock and Colin Savioz got dropped quite early. Only Maxime Decomble was able to follow what was left of the peloton a bit.” The favorites, however, quickly opened up the fight, and the young man from “La Conti” was unable to join the party. In the lead, José Felix Parra and Jarno Widar went clear, and after ten kilometres or so downhill, Maxime Decomble placed seventeenth, 3’28 behind the Spanish winner. Noah Hobbs finished about twenty minutes later, with the green jersey on his shoulders. “Completing a stage like this is never easy,” Jérôme recalled. “He was dropped in the Col de la Porte then did a great ride to join the finish well inside the time limit in order to secure this nice green jersey. Hats off to him because he finished while he could have dropped off, especially since he has other goals with the Great Britain team next week. I think it’s very good, he showed he was motivated.”

The young Englishman therefore climbed on the podium to receive his green jersey, while Maxime Decomble eventually took sixteenth place overall, Colin Savioz twenty-first. “It’s a good stage race for us as we came away with two victories,” concluded Jérôme. “This is important for Noah in anticipation of the rest of the season. He needed this. He got his first wins, it will give him motivation for the future, confidence and perhaps allow him to score more, which is also expected of him. Apart from that, we also noticed a greater team commitment in setting up the sprints, and that is very important. I think it gave Noah confidence. There is only one guy who puts his arms in the air, but how you build victories is always important. As for the overall, we mostly started with young climbers in a competitive race. To be sixteenth here for his first year U23 is promising for Maxime.” The upcoming schedule will include various events for the French development team. “We did not get selected for the Giro NextGen, and that changed our race program a lot,” noted Jérôme. “We will do the Ronde de l’Oise, others will compete in the Peace Race with their national team, and some will also race with the WorldTeam. Then, we will participate in a class 1 race, the Grosser Preis des Kantons Aargau.”