Jérôme Coppel: “There is no shame in losing to Cadel”
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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Jérôme Coppel: “There is no shame in losing to Cadel”

by Kyle Moore at 4:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Critérium du Dauphiné
 
Frenchman sparks risky breakaway that sticks, loses out in sprint to Tour champion

Jerome CoppelWhen he attacked the peloton with four kilometers to race, Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) brought some age and experience with him, as both Cadel Evans (BMC Racing) and Andrey Kaschechkin (Astana) covered the move.

Attacks out of the speeding peloton on relatively flat roads with fewer than five kilometers to race are not normally moves that work, but in stage one of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the trio made it stick. Coppel’s reward for igniting the winning move was a second place finish to defending Tour de France champion Evans, but the young Frenchman could find no shame in the result.

After a solid prologue time trial, the four seconds gained on the rest of the favourites boosted Coppel into the top ten overall.

“I did not make a mistake, Cadel was stronger,” Coppel said of his finish to stage one. “There is no shame in losing against [Cadel]. I am satisfied with the day. I’m a little disappointed to go so close in a race like this. I quickly saw that among the three, Evans was the strongest. So in the final kilometer, I stopped working. I thought I was the slowest. There was also [team-mate] Julien Simon in the peloton who could win in the sprint.”

Coppel insisted that the winning break was not necessarily the result of his good form, but rather was due to observation and experience, a claim perhaps supported by the fact that it was the veterans Evans and Kaschechkin who joined him.

“We climbed the final hill quickly, and it was not a slow descent,” he explained. “It was a moment that I was going strong. I saw that I was well placed. Everyone needed a breather. I attacked at the right time and Evans took my wheel.

“It was more that I was well positioned on the downhill, and I did not lose any positions. I lost less energy than others. Perhaps this is what allowed me to attack. I had to try.”

While Coppel gained a few seconds on every general classification threat, save for Evans, his four-second coup is not likely to affect the final overall. Thursday brings a 53km time trial that is likely to bring massive time gaps, though Coppel is capable of a handy race against the clock. He was third in last week’s Bayern-Rundfahrt time trial, to go with a fifth place in the final test in Paris-Nice.

Still, Coppel wouldn’t let Monday’s result lead to overconfidence as the Dauphiné progresses.

“I will take the race from day to day,” he concluded. “I am second on Monday, but that doesn’t allow me to ensure that my condition is good. I would not necessarily have the same legs in the mountains. We will see.

“Everyone takes this race as preparation [for the Tour de France] but everyone still wants to get a result. In recent years, we’ve seen that the first riders in the Dauphiné play the leading roles in the Tour. It’s good for the confidence, that’s true. I am calibrating myself against the best.”

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