Expected for years, Mathilde Gros brought France her first gold medal at the Track World Championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines on Friday 14 October. This is the first world title for the 23-year-old from Provençal, a great hope of the sprint since the juniors, and she won it in the queen event: speed.
“It’s amazing. I think I’ll be dreaming about it all night”, celebrated Mathilde Gros at the velodrome where the Olympic Games will be held in less than two years. “ The ultimate goal is Paris 2024. But I think it will be one of the most beautiful memories of my entire life. it is too good”she added.
This victory was not stolen by the French, after having dominated the powerful German team alone. First, in the semi-finals, by ejecting two-time defending champion Emma Hinze from the tournament despite a first-round loss. She did it again for the gold, leaving Lea Sophie Friedrich with no chance, this time in two matches in a row. “Being at home has helped me a lot, says Mathilde Gros. Crossing the line, I yelled at the top of my lungs, I think everyone heard it! It’s an emotion I’ve never felt in my entire life. »
setbacks before success
Mathilde Gros, born in Pas-de-Calais but raised in Bouche-du-Rhône, discovered cycling by chance eight years ago, when she was an apprentice basketball player dreaming of three-pointers. Endowed with it, she quickly established herself as a great hope of French sport by chaining titles among juniors, some predict a destiny for her like that of Félicia Ballanger, the great lady of the French sprint, triple Olympic champion.
A pressure that sometimes made her feverish. Mathilde Gros suffered several setbacks after a promising third-place finish at the 2019 Worlds, often due to a lack of self-confidence. “I get slapped but one day I will have a click”he said, last year, after two successive poor performances at the Tokyo Olympics (9me speed single and 13me keirin) and at the World Championships in Roubaix (9me keirin).
The click came then on Friday, at the velodrome where she knew how to violate herself to believe in her more. Even if it means pushing champions she admires, challenging her opponents with her gaze for long seconds.
A final pleasure that he shared on Friday with the large and overexcited public, who sang “Matilda, Matilda” passionate. “You don’t realize how powerful he is.explains the cyclist. It’s kind of sick. Paris is going to be so good in two years. A lot has changed since the Games [de Tokyo en 2021] for me. We start all over again. »
Silver medal for Melvin Landereau
The French fans had been moved by the beautiful silver medal won that same night by Melvin Landerneau, who was then second for France in these World Championships, after the bronze won the day before by the women’s pursuit team.
The European champion in the kilometer in August in Munich certainly could not do anything against the overwhelming Dutchman Jeffrey Hoogland, who retained his title with a margin of more than 1 second and 4 tenths. But he too, at 24, whetted his appetite for Paris 2024.
“It’s a great performance.commented. From the first moment I knew that it was going to be very difficult to achieve it. The goal is to fill this “void” with him between now and the Games. We’re going back to work to try and join him on this planet. »
A planet where the Italian Filippo Ganna also lives, who won a fifth world title in the individual pursuit, a new world record at stake. The best runner on the planet, however, arrived at these World Championships tired after having beaten, last Saturday, another record, the legendary one, by traveling 56,792 kilometers on the Granges track in Switzerland.
But he knew how to find the resources to beat his compatriot Jonathan Milan in the final, and enrich his trophy case, which also includes two world titles in the road time trial.
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