The most successful Tour de France of all time
The 100th Tour de France has just ended, so it’s time for FOCUS, technical sponsor of French team AG2R La Mondiale, to take stock. On balance, it was an extremely positive tour for the Cloppenburg-based manufacturer of high-end racing bikes. ALM emerged the best French team and claimed second place in the team classification and a win on the queen stage in Alpe d´Huez.
Sporting Manager Vincent Lavenu´s team can take pride in an outstanding team performance which earned them second place in the team classification. And that is by no means everything: Romain Bardet can be pleased with his solid 15th place in the General Classification. First Blel Kadri captured the polka-dot jersey, then it was later worn by Christophe Riblon, who finished fifth in the Climber Classification. Romain Bardet achieved fourth place in the Youth Classification.
This combined team performance is all the more impressive considering that the team, led by captain Jean-Christophe Peraud, suffered a number of setbacks during the three-week Tour de France: Time trial specialist Maxime Bouet broke his wrist just a few days in and later Jean-Christophe Peraud himself had to abandon any hope of placing high in the General Classification after he broke his collarbone – at which point he was ninth in the overall standings!
What characterises the French is team spirit, fighting spirit and the belief in their own strength: Pulling out all the stops on the queen stage of the Tour to Alpe d´ Huez, Christophe Riblon (32) sent the cycling nation that is France into collective rapture. L´equipe, France´s biggest sports newspaper, loudly proclaimed on the front page: “Héroique Riblon” (French for “Heroic Riblon”) – an accolade for any cyclist! And it was therefore only right that Riblon was named the most aggressive rider of the 2013 tour, receiving his “super-combative” prize on the podium in Paris. Riblon was overwhelmed with joy to receive this honour: “It’s fantastic! I broke away on almost all of the big mountain stages, including Ax3 Domaines, Mont Ventoux and, of course, Alpe d’Huez. This tour was a real pleasure, and I can now enjoy it to the full,” rejoiced the stage winner, who conquered the most famous Alps stage with his FOCUS Izalco Team SL.
This historic victory is also new territory for cycle manufacturer Derby Cycle: It was the Focus brand’s first win in the Tour de France! Martin Böckelmann, Team Liaison Manager FOCUS, had this to say about it: “We worked hard to support the team by providing the perfect equipment – and ultimately our efforts were rewarded. For us, it was the most successful Tour de France ever. And that shows that we have done a good job as technical sponsor.”
Even though the cycling season has only just reached its high point, the AG2R team’s statistics for the year already make for impressive reading: 6 wins, 17 second places, and 17 third places make this the most successful season for years for AG2R La Mondiale. The team also has ambitious plans for the upcoming tour of Spain (starting on 24 August). The French team has two young riders in the squad, Carlos Betancur and Domenico Pozzovivo, who both have their eye on one of the leading spots.