“I don’t realize it yet,” says Paul Lapeira, the new French champion

“I don’t realize it yet,” says Paul Lapeira, the new French champion

The Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale rider won the French cycling championship this Sunday afternoon in Saint-Martin-de-Landelles (Manche).

At home, Paul Lapeira created a surprise by winning his first title in the road race of the French Cycling Championships. “I don’t realize it yet. I dreamed of it [d’être champion de France, ndlr]. I came very close to being among the amateurs. I am extremely proud to be able to wear this jersey”confided the 24-year-old runner at a press conference.

Starting 60 km from the finish, the Decathlon-AG2R hopeful is having a dream season after having settled the sprint of a group of three in which Julien Bernard finished 2nd and Thomas Gachignard completed the podium. A dream day for the Breton who resisted with his breakaway companions the return of the favorites. He offered a 26th success to his team which ended a 17-year drought.

An exceptional season

Embarrassed by the work of Benoît Cosnefroy and Pierre Gautherat, Lapeira’s teammates, the two big names Julian Alaphilippe and Valentin Madouas, reigning champion, had to resign themselves to abandoning the pursuit. “I’m proud of the way the team ran. I think I will realize when I receive the jersey with the sponsors Decathlon-AG2R La Mondiale on it and the equipment”continues the native of Fougères (Ille-et-Vilaine).

Coming from the Decathlon-AG2R development team, Paul Lapeira discovered the professional peloton in 2022 before exploding this season. Author of an exceptional weekend in March, winner of the Loire-Atlantique Classic and the Cholet Agglo Tour, he confirmed the hopes placed in him by raising his arms during the 2nd stage of the Tour du Pays Basque, his first victory in the World Tour.

“At the start of the season, I told myself that I wanted to enjoy this French championship at home. Then with my results, I started to have more ambitions, I started to think about victory. I wanted to run against the big names like Christophe Laporte and Julian Alaphilippe. I knew the team would be able to help me”he concludes before perhaps participating in his first Tour de France with the tricolor jersey.

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