Frédéric Guesdon to become oldest Frenchman in the peloton as he extends with FDJ
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Saturday, August 07, 2010

Frédéric Guesdon to become oldest Frenchman in the peloton as he extends with FDJ

by Ben Atkins at 1:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Roubaix
 
Last French Paris-Roubaix winner puts off retirement for one more year

Frederic Guesdon38-year-old Frédéric Guesdon has agreed to a one-year extension to his contract with the FDJ team, known until July this year as Française des Jeux, according to l’Equipe. With the retirement of Caisse d’Epargne’s Christophe Moreau at the end of the season, Guesdon is set to become the oldest Frenchman in the peloton.

Guesdon, who will turn 39 in October, first turned professional with Le Groupement in 1995, moving to the Italian Polti team the next year. In 1997 he became a founder member of Marc Madiot’s new Française des Jeux team, where he has remained ever since. He only became the oldest member of the team after the retirement of 40-year-old Christophe Mengin at the end of 2008.

1997 was the year that Guesdon took his biggest ever victory, and the one that has always defined him as a rider, when he outwitted a number of more experienced riders to win Paris-Roubaix. In recent years his name has sat alongside Bernard Hinault as “the last Frenchman to…”, with his Enfer du Nord and the Badger’s 1985 Tour de France win being unmatched by a home rider since.

Guesdon has often been the first French rider to finish Paris-Roubaix since, but has never really threatened to repeat his 1997 victory.

Big victories have been few and far between for Guesdon, as they have been for most French riders since the Festina Affair, but in 2006 he managed to outsprint Kurt Asle Arvesen to take Paris-Tours. In 2008 he won the Tro-Bro Léon, the Breton equivalent of Paris-Roubaix, which prompted him to put off his planned retirement for a few years.

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