The audacity of the French
19 August 2018

The France hopes team may be looking for a climber who can reach the top of the final ranking on the Tour de l’Avenir. In the meantime, the young Tricolores are rewarded for their audacity and their strategy turned towards the offensive. After Alan Riou, winner on Saturday in Châteaubriant after a long breakaway and still yellow jersey, Normand Damien Touzé won the 3rd stage on Sunday between Le Lude (Sarthe) and Châteaudun ( Eure-et-Loir) at the end of the longest day (171.2 km) of the event.
“The French usually shine in the mountains,” said Damien Touzé, referring to the triumphs of Warren Barguil (2012) and David Gaudu (2016), the last French winners of the Tour de l’Avenir. This time, we are equipped for the first stages and we start very well. ”
With two stage victories in two days on the same offensive mode, and the yellow jersey as a bonus, the France team has already fulfilled its objectives on the most important event of the year for those under twenty-three years old. .
“The best defense is the attack,” noted Damien Touzé, one of only two survivors of the breakaway that initially included seven riders, and finally emerged victorious from his ultimate tete-a-tete with the French champion. Italy of the category, Edoardo Affini (our photo). “He wanted to attack the entrance hump, but I knew that an arrival like that was perfect for me,” commented 21-year-old Damien Touzé on the short but severe arrival ramp. stood at the foot of the majestic castle of Chateaudun where he had resisted in extremis the return of the peloton.
“He is a puncher before being a sprinter, but he is able to settle a small group and likes the arrivals in hump” said Pierre-Yves Châtelon, the coach of the French hopes, about his winner of the day, 22 years old, already pro on the team Saint-Michel – Auber 93 and who will be promoted in second division next year with Cofidis. Already 3rd on the first day at Elven in an arrival of this type, Damien Touzé took position in the points classification (2nd two points of the German Kanter) which could become an additional goal.
But for now, there is Alan Riou’s yellow jersey to be defended on Monday for the Orleans team time trial (20.2 km) where the real time will be recorded on the 4th man of each team, and the gaps capped at two minutes, which will reassure the teams of emerging countries (Rwanda, Ecuador, Japan, in difficulty).
Alan Riou remains under direct threat from Denmark’s Klaris and Norway’s Aalrust, his two breakaway companions on Saturday, both just one second off the yellow jersey.
“It will be difficult to keep the jersey, agrees Pierre-Yves Chatelon who particularly fears the Norwegian riders. But we kept our cartridges (in this 3rd stage) to reserve for the time trial. I do not really have big rollers, but I think however that the team is homogeneous and Damien (Touzé, still him) will give the tempo. ”
The stake is worth the candle because whoever will wear the yellow jersey at the end of the team chrono could lead him to the Alps, tackled Thursday.

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