Rich, one of my cycling friends, emailed me yesterday with a suggestion to add a bit more interest to the Tour. His idea was to follow a rider and see how they get on. It’s a good idea so, why not? He’s picked a Sojasun rider, Anthony Delaplace, so how to pick mine?
Naturally it has to be a Frenchman from a French team; it is, after all, the 100th edition of the French race. So that means an AG2R, FDJ, Europcar, Sojasun or Cofidis rider. Rich has already bagged a Sojasun rider, so they’re out. Of the other four Tour de France staples, Europcar are my clear favourite, and that’s entirely down to Thomas Voeckler’s past gurning performances. Besides, Europcar are usually a prominent attacking team that can be relied on to keep things interesting for us fans. I want a new, young cyclist, and a relative unknown. I had a look at the team roster and rider’s palmares and settled for Jérôme Cousin.
Jérôme Cousin is 24 and turned professional in 2011, signing for Europcar having spent a couple of years as a trainee with BBox Bouygues Telecom, the team’s previous sponsor. This is his first Grand Tour, and he’s entering having won the young rider classification in this years Etoile de Bessèges (2nd in the GC), although his most notable result was winning last year’s Tour De Normandie. Looking at his results, he looks like a promising stage race racer, rather than a one day/classics racer (quite a few DNFs this year).
As I’m writing this the Tour is on TV. It’s a flat stage and Jérôme is with four others in the day’s break. They’ve just contested the stage’s only categorised climb, a minor 4th category lump, where he came second to a Euskaltel rider. Already I’m pleased with my choice!
Bon courage Jérôme Cousin, and Anthony Delaplace, I hope you make it to the Champs-Élysées!