The World Tour groups loved racing within the south of France and in Bessèges.
Julian Alaphilippe, Egan Bernal or Jakob Fuglsang: from the Étoile de Bessèges to the GP La Marseillaise by way of the Drôme-Ardèche Buckles accomplished on Sunday, the French races at the beginning of the season have attracted the leaders of the peloton in 2021 and their organizers need to seize the chance to perpetuate these high quality posters.
“This year, we had a pretty tempting line-up compared to previous years”, acknowledges Patrick Herse, in command of the group of the Étoile de Bessèges (February 3-7), which notably hosted former world champions Philippe Gilbert (Lotto-Soudal) and Michal Kwiatkowski (Ineos Grenadiers). A alternative line-up that the GP La Marseillaise, the Tour de la Provence, the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes and du Var or the Drôme-Ardèche Buckles have additionally been in a position to boast.
A rapprochement between races?
Because in regular occasions, the heavyweights of the peloton fairly put together their season within the solar of the Gulf, Australia or Argentina. With the cancellation of a few of these occasions, journey difficulties and well being restrictions, French races had been in a position to profit from a “windfall effect”, concedes Guillaume Delpech, president of the Drôme-Ardèche Buckles organizing committee. Nevertheless “From La Marseillaise to Buckles, the teams can stay in the south of France”. “There would surely be something to do”, for the organizers of the French occasions, considers Patrick Herse.
“On this block of races now well identified by all those involved in cycling, there are areas for common development that deserve to be at least put around the table and discussed”, agrees Guillaume Delpech. A reconciliation – not a “mutualization”, insists the organizer of the Buckles – wouldn't solely make it potential to have extra weight within the negotiations with the main groups of the peloton, to draw their nuggets. But working collectively additionally has a particular monetary curiosity, with “economies of scale” in perspective. An necessary variable on the subject of combating towards the monetary energy of World Tour stamped occasions, the primary echelon of world biking, such because the Nieuwsblad or the UAE Tour.
Guillaume Delpech hopes to have the ability to depend on the federal authorities to orchestrate this merger, Patrick Herse on the National Cycling League. For now, “in terms of stage races, we each work a little in our own corner, it's a shame”, deplores the latter.