Tarn-et-Garonnais of 2023: Bartender Sandrine Roca works with Jeannie Longo

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SERIES 9/10. This is the penultimate part of our series in which we will choose the “Tarn-et-Garonnais of the Year 2023”. Montalban lawyer Sandrine Roca, who has just completed her term as president of the Tarn-et-Garonne Bar Association, is also a top athlete. At the age of 52, she qualified for the World Amateur Cycling Championship in her category.

Sandrine Roca, who has just completed her duty as the president of the bar association, is a successful 52-year-old woman. She was elected by her colleagues to the bar, where she has been training for twenty years, and the year 2023 was also marked by qualifying for the Amateur Cycling World Championships in Scotland in August 2023.

A mastery! That’s an understatement when we know that “Madam President” joined the Montauban cycling club (MC82) only a year and a half ago. His athletic qualities and endurance were quickly noticed. Castelsarrasinois runner Alexandre Roustain takes him under his wing, and former Polish professional runner Grzegorz Kwiatkowski, who lives in Montauban and has a prestigious track record, becomes his training partner.

Juggling the management of his office, his time-consuming role as bar association president, and his almost daily training, the young man in his fifties doesn’t have a minute to waste. His schedule is timed like the races of Montauban’s 17th RGP (parachute engineering regiment), for which he is also a licence, where he never ceases to amaze his “comrades in the saddle” in the cycling club. On August 4, 2023, in Scotland, Montalbanaise did not stand out against women’s cycling’s world elite.

“It’s a dream to run alongside the legendary Jeannie Longo,” she says, still beaming from the moment she shared with the thirteen-time world champion. “Before I left he wished me good luck and have fun,” Sandrine recalls. “The pleasure,” she admits, “is when we suffer and are no longer in the saddle.”

Sandrine Roca is in full race
Photo SR

First tricolor jersey

Including Tarn-et-Garonnaise, there are only two French women in this peloton of about sixty runners. Sandrine confirms: “How proud it is for me to wear this tricolour, even though I immediately realize my inexperience at the top level.” We don’t do ourselves any favors when we’re pitted against former professional runners.

“When I tried to escape from the herd, they pushed me out with their shoulders: there was really a fight there. “It was shouted in all languages ​​(laughs),” assures the lawyer, who managed to place 34th in the over 50 category. “I was going there to have an experience: the experience of the top-level UCI (International Cycling Union). I wasn’t disappointed, it was a great adventure. »

But this race at the highest level is not the last for Sandrine, who now feels the Little Queen under her skin.

Before the cycling season ends this fall, she decided to prepare to try her luck again in another qualifying race for the next World Championships. “On 19 November 2023, I came second to an Englishman in Antalya in southern Turkey,” says Montalbanaise, who is proud to have been able to repeat his success, showing his peers that this is not a beginner’s chance.

After a necessary break during the confectioners’ break, Sandrine continued her intense training under the supervision of her trainer Alexandre Roustain. “I couldn’t have been successful without him; he knew how to adapt to my professional constraints.”

I’m looking for sponsors

Possessing the same combativeness that has always been characteristic of top-level athletes, Sandrine has her eye on the World Championships, which will be held in Aalborg, Denmark, from 29 August to 1 September 2024.

“Since my term as president ends on December 31, I will have a little more time to prepare and perhaps find sponsors to support me,” says Tarn-et-Garonnaise, who single-handedly finances all his equipment and expensive trips abroad.

This support will be crucial if Montalbanaise wants to continue competing at the highest level, especially as the 2025 World Championships are scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Australia.

Seven dates that left their mark on his life

1971
Birth in Montauban on February 13

1997
He received his DEA degree in criminal sciences at the Faculty of Law of Toulouse – Capitole.

1998
He swears to become a lawyer

2004
He establishes his own practice in Montauban

2021
He was elected president of the Tarn-et-Garonne Bar Association.

August 2023
First participation in the World Cycling Championships in Scotland

November 2023
Second qualification for the World Championship to be held in Denmark in 2024 in Turkey

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