Bryan Coquard: “I don’t want to sell the skin of the wolf before I’ve killed it.”
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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bryan Coquard: “I don’t want to sell the skin of the wolf before I’ve killed it.”

by Ben Atkins at 9:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de Langkawi
French track star proud to win his first major road race but knows he still has a lot to learn

bryan coquardBryan Coquard (Europcar) had already won two races in 2013, before he travelled to the Tour de Langkawi, taking stages two and four of the 2.1-ranked Etoile de Bessèges in southern France. The 20-year-old neo-pro from Brittany came of age as a sprinter on the roads of Malaysia today, however, as he outsprinted the likes of Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Andy Fenn, the experienced Francesco Chicchi (Vini Fantini-Selle Italia), and Italian sensation Andrea Guardini (Astana) to take his first major victory in the road.

“Firstly, I’m very happy to win a stage at the Tour de Langkawi,” said Coquard afterwards. “I knew I was able to go fast, but it’s really nice to win in a field full of so many good sprinters. It was a test for the beginning of my career; my coach Andy Flickinger told me that if I manage to win a stage here it would be very good.

“I thank the team, because they have worked a lot for me,” he continued. “It has produced a good result, not only today, but the work for the preparation of the sprint for the team has been good since the beginning of the race.”

Some of the biggest sprinters in the World, including Guardini, Alessandro Petacchi, and Marcel Kittel have taken their first major race in Malaysia, but Coquard admits that it’s too early to make comparisons of that sort.

“It’s very good to win here, but I don’t think I’m yet at the level of these riders,” he said. “I’m very young, I’m almost 21, and I have to improve a lot.

“I don’t want to sell the skin of the wolf before I’ve killed it,” he added.

Having only joined Europcar in January, after having won the silver medal at the 2012 under-23 World championships, Coquard has already surpassed expectation. With two stages left in the Tour de Langkawi, however - which will more than likely finish with bunch gallops - the Frenchman is not ruling out further success.

“There are two days to go in the Tour de Langkawi,” he said. “I came here first to learn and to improve, but in those final two days I will just try to repeat with my team what we have done today. But I will race with no pressure, because now it’s mission accomplished, and for the rest of my career I will continue to try to improve, to become stronger, raise my level, and I need to get more experience in sprinting.

“I still have a long way to go before I become a champion,” he admitted.

bryan coquardBest known as a track rider, Coquard spent the build up to last year’s Olympic Games competing the Omnium in the UCI Track World Cup and, despite only managing eighth in April’s World championships, went into London 2012 as the World number one.

He finished second in London, behind Denmark’s Lasse Hansen, but has a tattoo on the inside of his right bicep to remember it by; something he showed off to the finish line cameras as he crossed the line.

“The tattoo is the Olympic rings, because I won silver in London,” he explained. “Before coming to this race I had a challenge with my directeur sportif Andy Flickinger; he said that if I win a stage I will have to show this tattoo.

“I’m very proud of this tattoo, because the silver medal for the Omnium at the Olympic Games is my best memory to date,” he added.

Coquard was quick to credit his team for its part in his victory, particularly the tall figure of his lead out man Kevin Reza, who delivered Coquard perfectly onto the back wheel of Chicchi in time for the dash for the line.

“I didn’t really choose the side of the road to sprint,” he explained, “but my lead out man Kevin Reza found a way out of the box on the right hand side, so that’s where I made my effort.

“It was just the shortest way to reach the line.”


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