Laurent Jalabert spoke about a series of innovations proposed by Le Figaro to spice up the Tour de France.
This 109e edition of Tour de France does not lack salt. While the first week did not ultimately do the damage that some feared given the many pitfalls along the route, the ascent of the Granon offered a striking spectacle and upset the established order. Consequence of the failure of Tadej Pogacar. Since then, the double winner of the Tour has been trying to catch up with Jonas Vingegaard and the attacks should be incessant during a third week which gives pride of place to the Pyrenees.
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However, Le Figaro had the idea of submitting 11 ideas to Laurent Jalabert to spice things up even more on the Grande Boucle. The former rider rejected most of these innovations, whether it be the reduction in the number of riders per team, relay or mountain time trials, the return to a Tour by nations every four years, the integration of a gravel or cyclocross stage, the return to marathon stages or the organization of night stages.
Favorable to the removal of auricles
The Mazamétain has nonetheless validated a few proposals. In particular the removal of the auricles. ” I am in favor of removing them, but this is not a new debate. We have been talking about it for about ten years, and, unfortunately, we have to face the facts, this fight seems to me to be lost in advance”, he nevertheless confided, adding: “Teams will object to their removal, as it is the only way for them to coach. We are in the XXIe century, more in the Middle Ages, and we are not going to reuse pigeons to send messages in the peloton. (Laughs.) You have to accept that it works like that. After all, in all sports, it has been accepted that coaches run their team from the bench. I am against earphones, but, on the other hand, if I were a manager, I would be very annoyed to position myself on this question, I admit it. »
Sportingly, the Champs stage does not bring much
Laurent Jalabert is also not opposed, either, to the abolition of the last stage on the Champs-Elysées, the preserve of sprinters. “I agree: sportingly, it doesn’t bring much, but let’s not forget that it offers a formidable line to the list of winners of the rider who wins. Winning on the Champs-Élysées, for a sprinter, is still quite a performance. For the yellow jersey, on the other hand, it has no real interest, he agreed. And then, this arrival in the streets of the capital, these images of the monuments of Paris, it is all the same very anchored in tradition. But why not think about putting back a time trial, like in 1989, which cost Laurent Fignon victory over Greg LeMond? Still, the scenario must lend itself to it. If the yellow jersey is well ahead of the second before this time, it is not ideal.
Open to the idea of setting a stage on an urban route even if he doubts the interest on a sporting level, the former sprinter is not opposed to the extension of time trials in the plain either. “I wouldn’t mind. I like the idea of fairly long time trials, around fifty kilometres. One could imagine an excellent rider setting up at the top of the classification with a 5-minute lead, and, by being a good climber afterwards, he would manage his lead”, he explained.
For a budget cap
The France TV consultant also said he was in favor of a budget cap for teams in order to favor smaller formations. “That would be a very good idea! But it should be done by pulling the budgets up and not down so that everyone is well paid inside the peloton. What is certain is that, when you have a team made up only of cracks and which necessarily costs more, it becomes very difficult to maneuver and the race is necessarily a little padlocked, he agreed. We have already seen in recent years certain teams archi-dominate the Tour de France and others have absolutely no chance of going to jostle them; None, and that’s a shame.”
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