If the next Tour de France is like this 75th Critérium du Dauphiné, then the French public can already rejoice. For the first time since... In 1958, the first three stages were won by the French. All three in the sprint. Christophe Laporte in Chambon-le-Lac on Sunday and Julian Alaphilippe in La Chaise-Dieu on Monday. And Laporte put it back on the final stretch at Le Coteau, near Roanne. Unlike Sunday when the main sprinters of the peloton were eliminated during the last bump, the Varois of Jumbo-Visma has, this time, won in front of the gratin. In power, he is ahead of Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco). This obviously allows him to consolidate his yellow leader's jersey.
Certainly, there is no need to shout untimely and overplayed shouts of joy when seeing the successes of the two men. Julian Alaphilippe, after a dark year, was finally able to prepare properly at altitude during the month of May. The double world champion simply finds his level. As for Laporte, he has clearly passed a huge milestone since his time at Jumbo-Visma last year. His potential was known in France, but he was playing in a team, Cofidis, where the demand, the working conditions and the quality of the teammates were below what he found in the Dutch. This year, his ratio of competition days to wins is impressive. In eleven days of competition, he has four victories (including Ghent-Wevelgem) and two podiums. Between his punching skills and his realization that he can win a massive sprint, Laporte can even allow himself to dream of the green jersey on the Tour de France. A tunic that his teammate and friend, Wout Van Aert, has announced not to target this year.
🏁 🇫🇷 @LAPORTEChristop won the 3rd stage in a sprint! 🏆
🏁 🇫🇷 @LAPORTEChristop wins Stage 3! 🏆 #Dauphiné pic.twitter.com/nNqy8bK8CX
— Critérium du Dauphiné (@dauphine) June 6, 2023
But let us not sulk our pleasure. The one so restrained during the Tour 2022 with zero French victories until... Laporte won two days before the finish in Paris during the Cahors stage. This time, with two locomotives in blue-white-red, French cycling is back in spirits. "It's a pleasure for everyone," smiles Laporte. Our cycling is doing well, we know that. »
"These are French people who raise their arms. Let's rejoice"
Julian Alaphilippe is also delighted with the turn of events: "Three wins in three days is great and deserves to be highlighted. It's been a while since this happened at a WorldTour race. In addition, a Frenchman is in yellow, and we still have great things to do between now and Sunday. »
In the streets of Le Coteau, between two fans who had recognized him and asked for a selfie, Thomas Voeckler, the coach, does not want to trivialize these beautiful results. "The good thing is that we're not surprised," he says. We don't think it's unexpected. Without going so far as to say that this is normal, it is still very good. This is not anecdotal. The guys are in the game. We know their value. A lot of guys are there to win but they are French people who raise their arms. Let us rejoice. »
Logically, the good French series should end, perhaps momentarily, during the 4th stage this Wednesday between Cormoranche-sur-Saône and Salins-les-Bains. A hilly 31.1 km time trial where Jonas Vingegaard, the winner of the last Tour, is announced as the favorite. But another Frenchman, Rémi Cavagna, Julian Alaphilippe's teammate at Soudal - Quick-Step, also wants to win. And the atmosphere seems so conducive to the French...