Jacques Lebreton wasn’t pretending. Among more than ten thousand participants, the rider from Bourg-en-Bresse Ain Cyclisme finished on the podium of theEstage of the Tour (3rd), last Sunday. The chance to have fun over 170 kilometers and 4700 vertical meters – in a different context from that of his usual Elite races -, in the heart of some of the most legendary passes in the Alps.
DirectVelo: How did you end up playing for the win in the Etape du Tour?
Jacques Lebreton: I didn’t plan it at all, it was decided three weeks ago when I found out that I wouldn’t be in the Tour de Côte d’Or, which took place at the same time. There was a hole in my agenda and I saw that this cyclo was there that weekend. I arrived a little late for the entries, but it was done thanks to Team Material-bike, who took care of me. I didn’t have to worry much. It was a great collective organization and a great day. I hadn’t had a day like this for a long time. I wanted to try it, even if it was only my second cyclosportive, after doing one in Italy, in 2018. And honestly, it was fun.
“I don’t want to get angry”
You obviously intended to race, not hike, for the experience…
I had lots of fun! I have not underestimated the cyclo level at all. I also previewed the results, especially those of La Marmotte, another famous event on this calendar. There are guys with a high level. I came without pressure, of course, but it was still a challenge. 5:30am cycling is rare in an FFC race. It changed me. But yeah, I wanted to do my best, it’s normal (smile).
It was therefore necessary to suspend the climbs of Galibier, Croix-de-Fer and Alpe d’Huez, as the pros will do on Thursday in the 12th stage of the Tour de France. How have you managed your effort?
With 4700 vertical meters I didn’t want to panic. Two runners immediately left for Lautaret and I was in a group of six. I preferred to let the part in the valley pass, quietly, with Jean-Louis Le Ny and a few other runners. We took others Elites like Bastien Tronchon or Arthur Blanc in the Croix-de-Fer. Once at the foot of the Alpe d’Huez, it’s every man for himself. I’ve always wanted to keep some leeway in effort management. We had to be careful because it was tough at the end of the race, even though the advantage of a cyclo is that it started at 7am! I didn’t want to push myself too hard and couldn’t catch up to the first two.
“IT WAS ROYAL”
That made you a busy day!
Ah, that’s for sure! I got up at 4 o’clock, it’s not in my habits (smile). And there, with the organization, the fact that we could not immediately descend the Alpe d’Huez, etc., it took us late in the evening… For an arrival in bed around 2 am. But honestly, there’s nothing to complain about, it’s a great organization. Cycling on a closed road is strong. It was royal. I obviously ended up just as burnt as I was at an FFC race, or even more.
Anyway, let’s get back to your Elite calendar. How is your season at Bourg-en-Bresse currently going?
It’s going on. I wasn’t exactly lucky. I had a Top 10 shot at Montbéliard, but I broke through at the end of the race and ended up with a less significant result. In the Tour du Pays Roannais I had good legs, but I sacrificed my chances for the team. In terms of results, I don’t have much, but in terms of sensations, it’s going quite well. The season is far from over, there are still fun things to do.