It’s almost finished. This Saturday evening, at the end of the Tour of Lombardy in Italy, then Sunday of Paris-Tours, the bulk of the peloton will be able to put their bikes away and think about vacation. Disputed between Como and Bergamo, the Tour of Lombardy is the last race of the season with a big favorite at the start: the Slovenian Primoz Roglic. But David Gaudu hopes to slip onto the podium and why not succeed his friend Thibaut Pinot, winner of this Tour in 2018.
Is the Tour of Lombardy the best race for you on the calendar?
DAVID GAUDU. I think the race that suits me best is Milan-Turin (he finished 6th this week) because the finish is at the top with a climb on which I personally feel the strongest. Otherwise, on the WorldTour classics, yes it is undoubtedly one of those that suits me best because this Saturday, there are 4,500 m of vertical drop. It looks like a mountain classic.
This is the fourth time that you have run the Tour of Lombardy but for this edition, it is taking place in the opposite direction. Is it a concern?
We did the reconnaissance on Thursday and I like that. There are some pretty long, steep and irregular climbs. But I also like the other side. Finally, I have no preference.
What are you aiming for on this Tour?
I already made a podium on a monument this year in Liège-Bastogne-Liège (3rd). To achieve a new podium on the second monument of the year reserved for punching climbers, that would really be the apotheosis. If you ask me, then I sign for a podium. I will try to hoist myself as high as possible knowing that it will roll very very quickly because the plateau is very high.
Primoz Roglic, the Slovenian winner of Milan-Turin this week, is he unbeatable?
He’s at a very, very high level. He is the number 1 favorite with a big team around him. I don’t wish him bad luck but this Tour is a classic for a day and anything can happen. It will be necessary to run just to make the right accounts at the finish.
Romain Bardet said a few days ago that he had the impression that the races at the end of the season were run at the pace of the MotoGP Grands Prix. Do you agree ?
Yes and it’s not just at the end of the season. I have never put out so many watts (power) as this year. To hope to play in the Top 10 in each race, you almost have to beat your records. We are ending a year where things have been going very, very fast all the time. Everyone is moving faster, all the teams have teammates who are as strong as the leaders and the level is higher. Yes, it drives faster than before.
What state of mind are you in before the last race of the season, telling yourself that after this one, “I’m on vacation”?
The state of mind is different and for everyone, it depends on their state of form. Me, I was in the game on the last tests and so it gives me envy. We have the chance to finish with the Tour of Lombardy on one of the most beautiful classics on the calendar. It’s going to be tough, long, wear-and-tear and I’m very motivated. It is the last race of the year indeed. We will have to release the last cartridges of the season, run intelligently and we will do the accounts after the line.
What is your assessment of your ending season?
It has been a great year, well managed in terms of races and objectives even if the big objective, namely the Tour de France, unfortunately we did not manage to achieve it 100%. For my part, during the whole season, I had only one day without and it was on the stage of Ventoux on the Tour. That’s life, but the rest was good. I raised my arms three times (one stage of the Tour du Luxembourg, the Tour du Pays basque and the Classic de l’Ardèche). I showed that I was present with the cadors in the mountains. It’s my best season with the pros. I improve every year and this feeling allows me to leave with confidence this winter to start over with something new next year.
What was the best moment of this year?
It’s hard to say because there have been several. I immediately think of my victory in a stage of the Tour du Pays Basque and when I crossed the Liège Bastogne line by finishing third. These are good times that mark.
The Tour de France will be presented next week. Do you have any idea of the ideal route?
Ooh there… I’m not thinking about the Tour de France at the moment, I’m focusing on the Tour de Lombardie.
The women’s Tour de France route which returns in 2022 will be presented at the same time …
It’s good for sport in general. There is a tie which also tries to be created on the courses as we saw on Paris-Roubaix. It’s good for cycling because the development of women’s cycling allows all cycling to grow.