Benjamin Thomas retains his title in the pursuit, Valentine Fortin takes the American with Berteau and the money from the pursuit.
Before the arrival of Benjamin Thomas at the “Blade” of Roubaix a year ago, no cyclist from the region had worn the prestigious tricolor of this race (Ariégois Jacques Dupont had won among amateurs in 1948), having been conquered by, among others, Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault. Last winter Tarnais had beaten five-time winner Corentin Ermenault (he was seven crowns worse off than his sire Philippe). Ben had not planned to compete in the tournament.
When we met with him on Friday evening, he said: “By the way, I added the chase to the program.” Pursuit and… a new national title, second in this specialization and sixth at the highest level. At the end of the night, Roubaisiens with Dorian Carreau hosted the American before he could touch the podium (5th) dominated by Boudat and Tabellion.
Valentine falls and… wins
The other Occitan title of this penultimate day belongs, of course, to Valentine Fortin. Haut-Garonnaise, who won with her friends in the opening team competition, flew over America with Victoire Berteau. It had been a difficult journey since he fell on the road, but he sang “La Marseillaise” with a smile despite the polish on his badly damaged left elbow. “Everything will be fine next week,” he reassures “Valoche.”
Borras and Demay, who fell to Valentine in the morning pursuit, came second, and Copponi-Lallemand came third. Weaving her third blue-white-red tunic in the 500 m without hesitation, Marie Divine Kouamé will head safely to Europe in the Netherlands starting today. In the end, Derache wins his keirin after a tough final against Helal.