They were the most generous at the time furnishing the French Paralympic bag: sixteen medals, including five gold, and even ten, including three titles in road events alone. “We stayed on the same recipe, not knowing how long it would work”, Matthew Jane, coach of the blue cyclists, smiles. One year after the Tokyo Olympics, and before the track races in Saint-Quentin (October 20-23), there will be twenty participants this Thursday in the Bay Como (Canada) World Road Technical Course, including the three Tokyo. Paralympic champion and champion Alexandre Lleute with four medals.
Alexandre Lyautey is on his way
At the age of 21, the standard-bearer of the closing ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics holds fond memories of two bronze medals he won on the road. “I was a bit tired and had a mechanical problem at the time of the trial, He said. But road racing has a golden flavor because I was the first C2 to share the podium with C3 (Athletes have fewer disabilities than him, hemiplegic after stroke at birth). » Since then his three-year contract at Espoirs d’Urt Pole (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) has expired, and the young man has returned home to Côtes-d’Armor. But the motive remains the same, He insists. Mentally, I have matured greatly on the bike. As I jumped on whatever moved so I wouldn’t miss the right shot, I was now able to orient myself. »
A double European champion in the spring, he also climbed to Category 3 among the healthy, and settled in the top 10 at Bai Como, with the intention of defending his two titles. “Even if Australian Paralympic champion Darren Hicks and Belgium’s Ewood Froman, who just broke the hourly track record, are great in this trial period, Determines Léauté. I want to show them that I’ve also recovered since the games. »
Kevin Le Conf: Offensive Strategy
He does not like to stand out much, even if he dreams of defending his Paralympic title at the Paris Games (C4-5 road race). “But already setting goals in mind is mentally difficult to achieve,” Estimated Kévin Le Cunff (34 years old). Especially since his victory in Tokyo did not change the daily life of the former professional sprinter (2017-2019), who never mentioned club feet and hurried his conscience before discovering the sport of the disabled in 2020.
Although his employer has given him some time for training, he continues to work at Safran, at the Aircraft Engine Assembly Methods Bureau. “In Worlds, I am aiming for the title of road race. I have been a European champion in time trial too, even that is not my specialty,” Le Conf was enraged that he believed he had made progress in recent months. “In para-sports, I didn’t run well on the road. The distances are shorter, the pelotons are very small, notice. I didn’t change my training, but tactics and strategy. When you’re healthy, you shouldn’t procrastinate or wait, or else the sweat will escape you. Better to be a step forward and attack. » Exactly what he intends to do in the bay-como cycle.
Alexandre Loveras with a new driver
If the other French already knew the course and the many turns, he’d figure it out. Too small in the system hasn’t actually visited it. “I would have preferred not to be technical, but with more height, He hates Lyonnais Alexandre Loveras (22 years old). But I trust my driver, he’s an acrobat. » And it was so bad if he had to change the mentor, Corentin Ermenault decided to pick up the thread of his personal career after the Paralympic title. From now on, the young man with Leber congenital anomaly is related to Maxime Gressier (24 years old).
Together, they completed three weeks of training to create connections and mechanisms in parallel. “We will find ourselves up against guys who have been riding together for years, but we will do our best and aim for the podium, It is Lloveras who thinks he has made progress. “Until then, motorists were driving at my own pace, we were spinning our legs around 100 rpm (number of revolutions per minute). The Maxime rides harder, with 10 or 12 fewer pedal revolutions per minute. However, strength has always been my weakness. With him I try to erase this defect by adapting to it. »
Florian Johnny: Status not yet confirmed
Before the Tokyo Olympics, he had never won a major race. “I wasn’t really expecting, and it might have taken the pressure off me. But I had high hopes.” Florian Johnny (30) was not disappointed. And this Paralympic title, France’s first in handcycling (the young man, born in Échirolles, has been a quadriplegic since 2011 and a heavy fall on skis), plays like a flick.
Florian Joan at the Paralympics in Tokyo, at the Handbike event. (A. Bizzi/Team)
Since the beginning of the season, he has doubled the number of titles in the World Cup and in the European Championships. It was also noted that the perception of others had changed. “This is the game”, He laughs. It’s more bearable because it avoids turning. “Games are a beautiful memory, but I look to the future, Florian Gowany insists. You have to set goals to move forward and not stay in a certain state. Before I do Ironman 3 in September, I’d like to bring the world champion jersey from Canada. » For this, he did not revolutionize his preparation and relied on a scheme similar to the one he followed before Tokyo. “I just try to do more every year. I think I’ve made some progress across the board. In endurance, to withstand high speeds between twenty minutes and an hour and a half. Or on shorter efforts too.”