The 23-year-old Frenchman on his first race with the team and the goals he has for his maiden season in the pro ranks.
“Racing with the team for the first time was something I was really looking forward to, being able to compete with the squad’s jersey on my shoulders, and doing it in Australia in a World Tour race was the best for me. Learning and having Julien teach me about racing with the knowledge he has acquired was a dream come true. He is someone I have always admired, we share the same background, as we both did cyclo-cross before switching to road, and being able to work with him is incredible. Also, the whole group has been very supportive, with the more experienced riders guiding us a lot.
Australia was incredible because we had perfect conditions to start the season, and I love racing in sunny conditions. There were also many fans who followed the team there, which was very interesting. Interacting with the fans and having discussions with them was also a great experience for me. I’m a very sociable person, and I enjoy interacting with the supporters.
Achieving my first top 10 as a pro was great, but I already want more for the future.
Sprinting and navigating the race finales, even when they get a bit hectic, is something I enjoy. I like to position myself in the peloton and the adrenaline rush in the final moments is something I love. Now I know I can do better, and I’ll work for it! What made that result more special was that it came on the day I turned 23. I’m used to celebrating my birthday during races, often during cyclo-cross World Cups or training camps, but celebrating it with such a great result was a welcome addition.
The Tour Down Under was a good experience for me. I’ve learned the importance of staying calm as long as possible in the race to conserve energy. I used to always race at the front, but there are times when you need to let go and relax a bit in the bunch, which conserves energy. I’ve also learned how to support the lead-out or the sprinter and how to guide our leader in a good position to the base of the climb and stay with him as long as possible.
Now I am back to racing in Oman, a country I am very much looking forward to discovering these days. We have a strong squad and we hope to get some good results. One thing I could see since joining Soudal Quick-Step is that the team's dynamics are incredible. It’s also very much like a family, which helps us stay relaxed before the race. For me, wearing this jersey is a great pride, and I want to show it as much as possible. If possible, I want to achieve the best results, but without stress. Every race this season is a discovery, so I’ll know which races to aim for in the coming years.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel
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