Benjamin Thomas: “If I hadn’t reacted in a second…” – News

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Benjamin Thomas will have the choice to dress for the presentation of the Cofidis team this Friday. Blue-white-red jersey or French Champion jersey. With her colleagues Valentine Fortin and Victoire Berteau, they broke the bank of the Championship with four gold medals this Thursday evening at the Stab’ in Roubaix. Benjamin Thomas won half the loot with two hard-fought gold medals against opponents who held him off, with less than half an hour between the two races. Corentin Ermenault first in the final of the individual pursuit, then Thomas Boudat who was still leading the points race before the last sprint and his points doubled. The tricolor cloth slipped on his suit of European Champion of the points race, he answered the questions of DirectVelo.

DirectVelo: It was a busy day…
Benjamin Thomas: It’s my biggest day in these Championships. This Friday, I will go to the presentation of the Cofidis team. The objective was to have fun in the race for points, whereas the pursuit is not a discipline that I am used to doing. I wanted to apply myself and do something serious. The title at the end is a bonus. I will come back on Saturday for the elimination and the American on Sunday with Dorian Carreau for Occitania.

Which title was the hardest to win?
They were both difficult. Corentin stood up to me for a long time. Even though there was a big gap in qualifying (4’15” and 4’20”, Editor’s note), he had the advantage of starting in the last series and knowing the time to qualify. We started on higher bases in the final (Corentin Ermenault was in the lead in the first part of the chase, editor’s note). At five-six laps, I started to doubt, my legs really hurt. I hung on for two or three laps and when my trainer told me that I had a bit of a lead, I started to gain confidence. It was really tough for 3-4 laps in the head and legs. In the race for points, it was the same, I doubted. Thomas (Boudat) was running really well. He was going faster than me in the sprints, he had taken a step ahead while I ran a little out of time. But all the planets aligned in the final rounds. It was two different races but hard to go for, no matter what.


Tell us about the last two laps before the last sprint of the points race…
There was an attack by Dorian Foulon a little before. I should have made the effort but a runner blocked the hole and it regrouped. I know Donavan (Grondin), he likes long, fast sprints. He had a big gear. When I saw him tumbling, I didn’t ask myself any questions, I did everything to hang the wheel. It was the hardest part. Afterwards, with the suction, I had to produce my effort at the bell. It would have been very hard for Thomas (Boudat) to pass me at the speed we were going, with our gears, it’s difficult to overtake. Whereas if I hadn’t reacted in a second, Donavan would have left, I would have found myself chasing him and Thomas would have passed me. It was played out to the millimeter because when I dislocated Donavan, Thomas was pulling me up but he had to do the outside and at that speed… That’s where the sprint came into play and running, in the space of 20 meters. It’s a nice ending for this race. We put on a great show for the people who had come or were watching on TV.

You had the suit of European Champion in the points race for the final but not in qualifying…
I had forgotten it! In qualifying, I was so focused on the pursuit, I had forgotten that I had to put on the European Champion’s jersey for qualifying for the points race.

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