In Madrid on Sunday it wasn’t just the Vuelta that ended, but the whole and special 2020 cycling season as well. Among the most successful teams since the return to racing at the end of July, the Groupama-FDJ cycling team collected two additional successes thanks to David Gaudu during the Tour of Spain and was therefore able to end its season in a great way.
“There always was a real collective dynamic”, Thierry Bricaud
The 140 kilometers between the Zarzuela racecourse and the finish line in Madrid were the last ones to be covered by the professional peloton in 2020. Moreover, there were not the most demanding ones. Like in the Tour de France, a long parade, some laughs and a few photos came before the real race. “It was special, of course,” commented Thierry Bricaud, a sports director on the Spanish event, along with Philippe Mauduit and Franck Pineau over the past three weeks. “The last race of the year always has a particular relish. On top of that, we relaxed a bit last night, and we celebrated both the stage win and the beautiful Vuelta achieved by our riders. There was still one last stage to do. Without a sprinter, it’s always complicated but they managed to get back into the game and it went well”. Already three times in the top 20 since the start of the Vuelta, former French champion Anthony Roux again tried his luck in the sprint and eventually took 21st. “We had decided to give him a chance because the finish might suit him,” resumed Thierry, “but like many others, he had heavy legs. He did not have the feelings he wanted, so it was hard to get a better result.”
This can’t however tarnish the excellent balance from Groupama-FDJ in this Vuelta 2020, even if it did not start off the best way. “We have to be honest,” said Thierry, “it’s still better than what we expected. We certainly came here with ambitions, but there was Thibaut at the start. Even though we had complete confidence in David, the situation changed a lot after 48 hours. We came for a stage win and for the top 10 overall, and we finally managed to meet these objectives with the same rider”. They even exceeded their goals yesterday, with David Gaudu’s second success in La Covatilla. “From these three weeks, we can also remember how committed the whole team was on a daily basis,” Thierry insisted. “The guys always had the same spirit. They always were focused on what they had to do, and there always was a real collective dynamic. We did our best with our means, and the guys never disappointed. We also managed to spare some riders on certain days in the first ten days, when the squad was still almost full, and that allowed us to perform well in the last week”.
“To finish on a good note is important for everyone”, Thierry Bricaud
If Thibaut Pinot, Romain Seigle and Matthieu Ladagnous had to retire, Mickaël Delage, Anthony Roux, Olivier Le Gac, Bruno Armirail and David Gaudu have therefore concluded this final event of the season for the Groupama-FDJ cycling team. In the most beautiful way, moreover. “As we told the riders: if we put the Tour de France apart, we gad a great season”, concluded Thierry. “We were there from start to finish, on the Giro, on the Vuelta. We know that the Tour is an important moment of the year. We certainly missed it, but that’s not what we’re going to remember. We will remember the commitment of all our riders in all the races of the year, where we were able to get results. To finish on a good note like this is of course important for the riders who were there, but it is for everyone. This already gives a good dynamic for next year”.