Villaroger, around 5:00 p.m. The Blues have completed their Tour de l’Avenir for about 1h30. If everyone is enjoying a pizza to ‘celebrate’ the end of the Espoirs stage race, some are still not quite in the mood for the festivities. Not among the six Blues who had the mission of finishing the Tour de l’Avenir in the best possible way, but among the squad. Franck Laurance has his eyes riveted more than 1,000 kilometers away, on the other side of France. Glued to his laptop, he attends the last kilometers of the Bretagne Classic, in Plouay. His son, Axel, is still in the leading group to fight for victory. Fully behind the offspring of him, Franck can rejoice.
The member of B&B Hotels-KTM offers a real sprint and is just behind the great favorite of the event: Wout van Aert. “make 2nd (see ranking), I never would have thought of that. It was inconceivable at first. It’s amazing, I was already very happy to be at the start, I had fun all day, it’s huge.”, rejoices Axel Laurance. A neighbor of Morbihan, just 5 kilometers from the finish line, Axel Laurance took advantage of the whole day to go for a walk. “When I got to the first lap, I saw the world, I said ‘wow’, I’ve never seen this. Being on the podium is a great reward. I know the course by heart. J I had been there every year in Plouay since I was a child, at the presentation I had a slightly different feeling”.
“HERE IT IS AT LAURANCE”
Nor is he without a word for his loved ones, and in particular for his father, therefore disappeared. “The only thing missing was my father who was at the Tour de l’Avenir. My friends put my name on the Lézot, I had written “here it is at Laurance’s house”, they were right (smiles). All day you hear your name is very nice”. And the neopro defended his territory. In the last few hundred metres, and in particular on this descent that plunges the riders into the final stretch, Axel Laurance had a very clear plan. “I was really burnt out, but I wanted to take the wheel from van Aert at all costs. I didn’t give in. They don’t necessarily respect me compared to the WorldTour teams, but I managed to keep my place.”.
And the Belgian scarecrow launched his sprint. “When it was launched I told myself why not. I tried to get ahead but he kept the great power from him, I felt it was impossible to come back. Running right next to him is already very good.”. And so is doing it for victory in a WorldTour race. Especially in Plouay and its difficult course. “I was starting to get into the rough stuff, on the bumps I was putting on a small chainring at a time. Pierro (Rolland) filled the holes, I resisted tipping over every time. At three kilometers I disconnected everything, I said that now that you are there you have to go!”.
” IT WAS A DREAM “
In a very good moment for a month, and his two stage podiums in Wallonia, Axel Laurance is getting closer to a brand victory. “He lacks a bit of strength, today there is nothing to do. In Poitou I was disappointed because I think I had a chance to win, but I felt stronger there, I’m very happy to do 2. It’s my first WorldTour race. There were 250 terminals, I had done 215 max, that also has an influence. Being able to try and overtake van Aert is already great. I did everything to win, I’m very happy.”. And his multiple experiences in stage races are probably the cause of this dynamic.
“I did a lot of stage races, it helps too. I think it’s good for the pros to do that. Do the miles, rack up stages. The more I did, the more I made progress. I still show today that I’m making progress.”notes the former VC Pays de Loudéac broker, who is now ready to tick new boxes. “I just wanted to start and see, I didn’t necessarily have any ambitions. In the end, it worked out. It was a dream. My first was to become a pro, then win with the pros and finally win the biggest races in the world. Plouay is my favorite race, so that’s part of it”. Who knows, after playing it this year, maybe the dream will come true in the near future.
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