Jimmy Casper gunning for elusive first French national title
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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jimmy Casper gunning for elusive first French national title

by Kyle Moore at 9:54 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, National Championships
 
First flat French nationals course in years has sprinters salivating

Jimmy CasperJust as there is a new crop of French sprinting talent beginning to emerge, France’s fast men should get their chance in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux on Sunday in the national road race championship of France.  The 2012 course is basically flat, and has predictions for the tricolor jersey tending toward speedy riders such as Nacer Bouhanni and Arnaud Démare (FDJ-BigMat), along with Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis).

But along with the newly minted French sprinters, a number of the old guard will also be present on Sunday, with Jimmy Casper (AG2R-La Mondiale) amongst them.

“The success at this race eludes me at the moment, but hopefully this will change on Sunday,” Casper stated to Velochrono.

With hill climbers and all-rounders like Thomas Voeckler, Dmitri Champion, Christophe Moreau and Sylvain Chavanel getting the national colours recently, Casper believes that riders of his style should be getting equal opportunities, with this year’s course being long overdue.

“After fifteen years, I expect [to get an ideal course],” Casper insisted.  “We have the right each year to a similar chance.  Recently, the championship is always for the same riders.”

Just as in any other race on a flat course, nothing is guaranteed.  Casper named some other Frenchmen who could create the surprise.

“A climber like Fabrice Jeandesboz, who is comfortable on the flats, could have his chance.  Ditto for Anthony Roux, who has good speed and is very strong in an escape.  We’ll have to pay attention to the group that will be at the front.  It will be a tiring race.”

The French veteran’s best finish so far in 2012 has been fourth place, in stage seven of the Tour de San Luis behind Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Andrea Guardini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia).  While he only made a bit of noise in his most recent race, the Route du Sud, he took positive signs from the race.

“I was bothered by a back problem,” Casper admitted.  “However, the legs responded well last week in Route du Sud.  The feelings are good.  Of course I would have preferred to win all the sprints, but I know my form and my abilities.”

However, with Lloyd Mondory and Sebastian Hinault both in the AG2R-La Mondiale stable, and capable in a sprint, Casper may not even get an honest chance to contest the win.  While it has been a long time since his last high profile win, the Frenchman knows that his biggest win in recent years could earn him a surprise trip to the Tour de France.

“My destiny will be written on June 24.  I certainly have not won anything this year.  For me and my team, that would have been better.  I believe in my chances.  And if some do not believe in me, I have to prove them wrong.”

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