David Gaudu: "The goal would be to realize my dream, to win the Tour de France"

David Gaudu: “The goal would be to realize my dream, to win the Tour de France”

When he interacted with The world, in May, in a Parisian café, David Gaudu was already showing his desire to be the leader of the Groupama-FDJ team for this Tour de France 2022. His manager, Marc Madiot, officially invested him on June 29 in this role, with a Thibaut Pinot charged with being his “guardian angel in the mountains”. Romain Bardet focused on stage victories, Gaudu advances at 25 as the best French hope of appearing well in the general classification. Nothing to scare the one who is announced as a great talent since winning the Tour de l’Avenir in 2016two years before a certain Tadej Pogacar.

When you are a French rider, you are always brought back to the Tour de France. Romain Bardet and Thibaut Pinot have expressed their desire to break away from it, in particular by making the Tour of Italy a main objective. Could this be your case too?

As a French rider, you are so expected there that you sometimes want to move away from it, to say that you are not just made for the Tour. I also want to have fun in other races, to have more freedom. Of course, I would like to redo a Vuelta [le Tour d’Espagne]to discover the Giro [le Tour d’Italie]but cycling is my job and I have an obligation to sponsors.

You talk about freedom. How does the Tour offer less than other races?

A Vuelta will be less stereotypical, for example. There, it can go in all directions. A rider well placed in the general standings can escape. In 2020 I am 11e and I’ll be in the breakaway on the penultimate day to win my second stage. It is impossible on the Tour. An example. Last year, the AG2R team did not let me escape because they defended the 14e place of Aurélien Paret-Peintre while I was in front on the Saint-Gaudens stage. The teams are so “matrixed” [obnubilées] by a place of honor on the Tour…

Your teammate Thibaut Pinot has long had a conflicting relationship with the Tour. Is it a race that you love unreservedly, which makes you dream?

My dream since childhood is to win the Tour de France. I already had that in mind when I was riding my mountain bike when I was 5 or 6 years old. All children dream, and dreams sometimes stay with age. When I joined the team [en 2016], I did not expose it too much. But it stayed in the back of my mind. The objective would be to realize my dream: to win the Tour [sourire]. Would I be able to? I do not know.

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