Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

Season gets off to a promising start

If you have read my previous post on Winter Training in the Warm Zimbabwe Sun, you will know that this year I have put in a lot of base work during the off season and so I was half expecting to be on decent for for the opening race of the year.

However the fact that this was only my second race at this higher category, I was still a little unsure of how I would go.

As the race was on an almost completely flat 6km circuit, I had no great aspirations that I could go for a sprint victory, so my main aim for the day was to test out the legs and use the race as training for the more hilly events on the calendar. Thus I decided to race really aggressively and try and get away in a break as this would at least give me a hard workout and get our team and the sponsors some exposure.

New Equipment for 2016
This was also going to be my first race with 3T Cycling supporting me and so I was very excited about testing out my new ORBIS II T50 LTD wheels and showing them and the brand off to the competition.

Also new are some Sidi Kaos shoes. I have been using Sidi for many years now and with my old Genius shoes in need of replacing (after 5 years of almost daily use in all weather conditions), I had no hesitation in sticking with them

As well as this I have been using Qrings for the past month in training and have really started to feel that they benefit me.

Early Days
The first 20km or so were typical with the speed very high and many attacks going off the front. On the thin roads, I was caught out a little and was too far back in the bunch to do anything.

Le Grand prix cycliste d'Ouverture 2016

However in a way this worked to my advantage as after this flurry of attacking was over, the bunch settled down. Hovering a short distance in-front of the peloton was a small beak, initially of about 5 riders and I decided to bridge to it. To my pleasant surprise when I jumped, nobody followed and it did not take me too long to time trial across to the group.

Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

Even though there was a concerted and organised chase from the bunch, this break-away progressed with at least 3 of us initially putting in a lot of work. It was now that I knew that my form and my legs felt good and soon the weaker members of the break were dispatched, leaving just three of us and even then it was only myself ant the rider from team E.Leclerc doing the lions share of the pulling on the front.

Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

And then there were two..
From what I could hear from some of the helpers at the side of the road, I think we got a maximum gap of around 40 or so seconds, so we never really got away and deep down I never really expected that we would make it to the end. However I still put in my maximum effort and for my efforts “won” a sprint prime along the way. Anyway we survived for a full 40km and were only caught with about 10km to go.

Even without using so much energy, before the race, I would have said to you that I had no chance in the sprint. However I was able to recover very quickly once we were reeled in. Whats more, my teammate Christian PECOSTE went on the attack immediately and this meant all I had to do was follow any wheels and just see how things played out.

Christian and his small group of escapees really played into my hands as it forced the strong riders left in the bunch to put in a lot of work right at the end to bring them back and I just sat in on their wheels near the front of the bunch.

Sprint Finish
The finish in Castelmoron is far more tricky than you first think as there is a gradual decent leading into the last 200m and then it rises slightly fro the last 100m and so positioning and gearing are vitally important.

The bunch caught the final break at about 100 meters to go and with only a few competitors left with any energy, I had placed myself perfectly and used a big gear (for me) and carried my momentum right through to the line and with relative ease past all but two on the way to the line.

Below is a video and a couple of photos of the finish. In first place was Julien Tronchut (team Tsa), 2nd was Stephane Delfosse (Cadaujac) and myself in third. As you can see we had a large peloton with a whole host of strong teams and riders, which is why I am super happy to have finished on the podium.

“Pulling a Fat!”

Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

Below are a couple more photos of the 2nd Category podium and myself being interviewed (in French!) after the race.

podium - Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

Interview - Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the organizers TSA UNIBALLER and sponsors of the Grand Prix Ouverture, including all the volunteers for a fantastically well run event.

Many thanks also to Jean-Claude Bernard and Marie Claude Caminade of ‪CYCLO 4 Haut Agenais‬ for the photos, our sponsors Vitamont, Le Mariners restaurant in Villereal, UltimumSport energy gels and Cabanes Perchées dans les Arbres and especially thankful to my sponsor 3T Cycling for the super fast wheels.

Team Cyclo 4
Team Cyclo4 were represented in all 4 categories and finised with two podiums:


3 ème cat : Bruno CAPMAS

2 ème cat: Christian PECOSTE

1 ère cat : Fabrice GUIDON

With a beautiful 3rd place in his first 3rd Category race (see photo below), I would also like to congratulate my young team mate Jérome MANDAVY. I have trained with him on a number of occasions over the winter and with is power and dedication, he will surely go very far. Bruno CAPMAS also finished in 8th place in this race and Dennis safely in the bunch.

Raoul was to suffer in his first race back and lost contact with the GS bunch – I am sure better days are ahead for him.
Frédéric had a crash – nothing serious, but lost contact with the bunch much to his despair – he too will have his chance in the future.

Fabrice too starts the season slowly finishes in the 1st cat bunch – as a past multiple national time trial champion has all the experience to know that it is a long season and will hit peak form in the big races later on in the summer.


Official Results – Le Grand prix cycliste d’Ouverture Castelmoron 2016

1st Category

  • 1st Delaforge Anthony – Martillac
  • 2nd – Vanaeslt wouter -Team volkswagen
  • 3rd – Pilles judikael – Gontaud
  • 4th – Cano noel – St suplice cal
  • 5th – Joisnot guillaume – Castres

2nd Category

  • 1st – Tronchut julien – Tsa
  • 2nd – Delfosse stephane – Cadaujac
  • 3rd – Whitehead jason – Cyclo 4
  • 4th – Meynet didier – Tsa
  • 5th – Garreau thierry – Cadaujac

3rd Category

  • 1st – Marien clement Sarlat
  • 2nd – Fouquet pierre Sarlat
  • 3rd – Mondary jerome Cyclo4
  • 4th – Ducasse david Castelemayran
  • 5th – Mata sebastien Team vol

GS Category

  • 1er Hay william Chateau levesque
  • 2ème Delperier alain Mussidan
  • 3ème Delzon claude Vares
  • 4eme Munariz alain La reole
  • 5ème Sacchet jacques miramont