Châtillon-En-Dunois, 10am. The speaker calls the teams in the empty streets of Eure-et-Loir. They are late. People start crowding behind the safety barriers, looking at the podium. The mayor of the municipality is present and thrilled:
Words and images: ©ASO/Pauline ballet
“It is nice to see so much energy in those young people, while others spend their time watching TV.”
The 33 teams settle on the grid. Proud and concentrating, some of the guys seem to be 10 years older, others still laugh like children. Former Paris-Roubaix rider Thierry Gouvenou (also the race director) starts the race. Espoirs riders have to go 173km around Touraine. It was a bad day for Benjamin Declercq, who was unable to avoid a fall less than an hour after the start and a similar fate met Annemiek Van Vleuten in Vendôme.
Thirty-kilometers before the arrival, the three Rabobank riders launch their attack and would not be seen again by the others until the end.
Victory goes to the Dutch Mike Teunissen, aged 22.