Christophe Laporte, the consecration of the shadow worker

It took 19 stages, but a Frenchman ended up winning this 109th edition of the Tour. Victorious in Cahors (Lot), Friday July 22, Christophe Laporte came to save the Tricolors in extremis from a Grande Boucle without a bouquet for the first time since 1999.

This 23rd success of his career takes the form of a consecration for the Varois, who arrived in January at Jumbo-Visma. The 29-year-old sprinter, who had previously learned all his skills at Cofidis, had never won the Tour de France before. He had never even won in the World Tour (the highest level in the world) before 2022.

He had come very close to raising his arms on the Tour in Pau in 2018 (2nd), but Arnaud Démare had deprived him of it. This is now ancient history. “It’s just happiness, I’m really very happy. I was already fully satisfied with this Tour de France, we did great teamwork, and today I won a stage, it’s a childhood dream”explained the winner of the day at the finish.

Often placed but rarely winning, Laporte had decided to take a risk for 2022: to leave his comfortable costume as a leader at Cofidis to endorse that of a luxury team member at Jumbo-Visma. He took it well since three months after his arrival, he has already raised his arms on Paris-Nice after having spun in the English in the final of the first stage with … his teammates Primoz Roglic and Wout van Aert.

It was enough to see the collective joy of his teammates to be convinced of his successful adaptation. “It makes me very happy. He’s new to the team but he’s done a lot for me this spring and at the Tour de France. It’s cool that he ends up like this”, smiled Van Aert on arrival. A few meters further, Jonas Vingegaard was also happy for the Frenchman. “I’m really happy for Christophe, he’s a really good guy. He worked hard for three weeks and it’s a reward for all his work”underlined the yellow jersey.

First French victory in the Tour de France!  Christophe Laporte won sensationally in Cahors thanks to two successive attacks before and after the red flame.  Cleverly anticipating the sprint, he proved to be the strongest of the favorites to win his first success on the Grande Boucle!

“When he arrived, everything was new for him: the way of training, the nutrition… The way in which he progressed is paying off today”, welcomes Nathan Van Hooydonck. With five victories on this Tour, Jumbo-Visma is voracious and even allows itself to glean surprise victories, like Friday, since nothing was planned for the Frenchman in the morning. But the instinct of Laporte, who came out alone 600 meters from the finish, surprised everyone. “I didn’t feel very well today, so I told Christophe that it was his day, that he was strong enough for the sprint”, has explained Van Aert.

In a team where he has no pressure for results, Laporte revealed all the potential he showed in bits and pieces until then. “He himself does not know how strong he is”says his teammate Nathan van Hooydonck. “He always took the wind, he worked a lot, and when you see how Jonas [Vingegaard] was happy for him, that says it all,” adds its sports director Merijn Zeeman.

Guardian of Roglic or Vingegaard on the plain, protector of Van Aert on the cobbles, spare sprinter: Laporte is the jack of all trades at Jumbo-Visma. “He’s a great traveling companion, a very nice person. He’s very quiet, he likes to sleep a lot but on the bike he’s a machine”jokes Sepp Kuss.

“When you have teammates who are still working for the team, and who manage to win too, it’s very special.”

Merijn Zeeman, Sporting Director of Jumbo-Visma

at franceinfo: sport

Laporte has already won his bet after “a lot of sacrifices, far from the family”. “I think that in three months I only spent one week at home. We are a very tight-knit group and I think it pays off on the pitch.”, recalls the Frenchman. He thus succeeds the great absentee from this Tour, Julian Alaphilippe, who had been the main provider of French victories for four years with six successes, the last in 2021.

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