Critérium du Dauphiné - "A year ago, I hesitated to end my career": Vuillermoz, a total victory

Critérium du Dauphiné – “A year ago, I hesitated to end my career”: Vuillermoz, a total victory

A victory that sounds like a rebirth. This Tuesday, in Brives-Charensac, Alexis Vuillermoz, the TotalEnergies rider who won the 2nd stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné in a breathless sprint, remembered the memory of the fans who had seen him, in 2015, win a Tour de France stage. And not just any, since it is in Mûr-de-Bretagne that the Frenchman, 34 years old today, had raised his arms, in front of Daniel Martin, Alejandro Valverde, Peter Sagan or even Christopher Froome.

This one is really good after two years of struggling. (…) It’s more than a great happiness

A prestigious success that promised others. Except that, in the years that followed, the Franc-Comtois was weighed down by his body. Hence the contagious joy that transpired from the smiling face of the new yellow jersey for this 2022 edition: “This one is really good after two years of hardship. A year ago, almost to the day, I broke my pelvis… So to come back to such a level when I was hesitating to end my career, it’s more than a great happiness”he thus declared in the mixed zone at the end of the ceremony where he was seen wearing the color most coveted by his peers.

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Vuillermoz, intense emotion: “I cried out with happiness and I had a little asthma attack”

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Vuillermoz, intense emotion: “I cried out with happiness and I had a little asthma attack”

“It’s huge, I’ve never worn a distinctive jersey, it’s going to be hard to keep it with the efforts made today, but tomorrow (Tuesday) it will be a very nice day anyway”, reacted, full of optimism, the one who has experienced so many disappointments in recent seasons. If, in 2017, a fracture of a vertebra contracted at the start of the season did not prevent him from achieving one of his best career exercises (including a thirteenth place overall in the Grand Boucle, his best result), Everything got complicated from 2018 when, within AG2R La Mondiale, his performance began to decline, the glitches linked together, and trust becoming increasingly rare.

Repeated injuries, and Vuillermoz hit rock bottom

In August 2019, a broken kneecap left him on the sidelines for more than a year, since his return, scheduled for March 2020, was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting confinement. After his injury to the pelvis, therefore, his doubts about the follow-up to his career, he succeeded in his bet started last year, when he chose to join the team led by Jean-René Bernaudeau.

Vuillermoz made his punch and his experience speak: arrival of the 2nd stage

[Chez TotalEnergies]I was allowed to rework my qualities as a puncher, and it works pretty well

“I was allowed to rework my punching qualities, and it’s working quite well. It’s my best start to the season in my career but I was missing the victory”rewound Vuillermoz, after a success that surprised everyone, even him. “Today I didn’t really believe it”he acknowledged, adding: “During the briefing (with his team, before the stage), what we said to each other was that we had to stay warm for tomorrow (Tuesday). But I saw that we didn’t was not represented in the front breakaway, so I took the lead”. A departure from the plan that he did not have to regret: “It was not part of the instructions of the day but I said to myself ‘never mind’. We knew that the breakaway had a chance of winning today (Monday), we took a risk and it worked, so good”.

Breakaway in a group of 6 with Anthony Delaplace, Olivier Le Gac, Kevin Vermaerke, Anders Skaarseth and Xandres Vervloesem, he finally had the last word: “I saw Olivier start the sprint very far. I didn’t think I could come back but 50 meters from the line, I saw that he got a little stuck, and then I said to myself ‘well, come on, you have to give everything, even if I get overtaken, I would have tried everything’. And it even earned him a hug and words of praise from Wout van Aert after the race: “He’s a champion of another caliber so it’s always nice to have congratulations from him”laughed Vuillermoz, which was the first success for 3 years.

The 3rd stage in his strings

What bring others much more quickly? If he knows that it will be difficult to keep his yellow tunic for very long, he admitted that the third stage, 169 kilometers long and which will rally Saint-Paulien and Chastreix-Sancy “will suit” to him and his team. With quite a few elevation changes, including sections at 5% and passages at 8% over the last kilometers to reach the finish line, he hopes to be able to surprise again. Even if he has already seen the light at the end of the tunnel.

And to say that Vuillermoz should not escape: “I said to myself ‘too bad, we’ll see'”

Dauphine Criterium

The total for Vuillermoz, Groenewegen still behind: the summary of the 2nd stage

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And to say that Vuillermoz should not escape: “I said to myself ‘too bad, we’ll see'”

5 HOURS AGO

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