French road championships - Élie Gesbert 6th
The 2023 French Road Championship was an out-of-category affair, with only 23 riders crossing the finish line in Cassel. Élie Gesbert and Matîs Louvel finished in 6th and 8th place.
Photo Arkéa-Samsic/ Aubin Lipke
On the line
“I’ve never seen such a French Championship. I rode the whole race at the front and finished at the end. I had no energy left. It was the strongest rider who won. The aim here wasn’t to show off the jersey. We played our part, we were always represented at the front, but we weren’t rewarded.
“It was complicated for me to do better than 8th, I had really good legs, but when you’re not a climber-puncher such a route is difficult. After the 3,000 metre climb, it started to sting a bit. 8th on such a course for a rider of my size isn’t bad. In any case, I’ve rarely finished a race so tired.
“This French Championship started very quickly. And it never let up. I followed when the big breakaway started. I had a good feeling and I sacrificed myself for Élie, who was riding very hard. I finished bravely. The cobbles added to my fatigue. It required some steering. I learnt a lot from this race, over such a long distance and at such a fast pace”.
“There’s always disappointment in a French Championship when you don’t bring home the jersey. But the winner of the day was quite simply the strongest. Collectively, we did what we set out to do, as long as we had the resources. We lacked some towards the end, but for a long time we were in the match with Groupama-FDJ, who were the strongest team up front. We gave in towards the end, but I’m still satisfied, particularly with the racing of our very young riders”.