Track Cycling World Championships: France's Donavan Grondin and Benjamin Thomas on gold

Track Cycling World Championships: France’s Donavan Grondin and Benjamin Thomas on gold

France's Donavan Grondin, right, and Benjamin Thomas celebrate their victory during the world track cycling championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines on October 16, 2022.

For the uninitiated, the American test is not the most readable in track cycling. Unless one of the duos in charge of swallowing the 200 laps of the track (50 kilometers) at full speed in turns largely dominates their opponents, as they did, last Sunday, October 16, the French Donavan Grondin and Benjamin Thomas, crowned world champions in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. The two runners, who perform as professionals on the road for the rest of the year, bring a third gold medal to the tricolor delegation after the titles of Mathilde Gros and Marie-Divine Kouamé, respectively in speed and in the 500 meters. With this third coronation and this seventh medal, France is already assured of obtaining its best result in the World Cup since 2017.

Also read: Track cycling: Marie-Divine Kouamé crowned world champion in the 500 meters

During the American, there are two ways to score points: be part of the first four teams to cross the finish line during the sprints that are organized every ten laps of the track or manage to escape from the peloton and give it a turn. Driven by the clamor of the French public, Grondin and Thomas were regularly at the rendezvous for the intermediate sprints (12 times out of 20) and decisively moved ahead of their opponents by turning the pack less than 5 kilometers from the finish. . With a comfortable lead, the two Frenchmen were able to savor their final laps, and even afford to claim a surplus of fervor from an already boiling crowd.

“Donavan made the difference”

“We attacked at the right time, says Benjamin Thomas. It was Donavan who made the difference and it was he who made me believe it. At the beginning of the race, my legs were a bit heavy. » The Cofidis team cyclist, who stood out this summer on the roads of the 2022 Tour de France standing up to the peloton up to 400 meters from the finish line of the 15me stage in Carcassone, he had good reason to be a bit forceful. On Saturday he put a lot of energy into winning a silver medal in the omnium, an event that combines six specialties of track cycling.

France's Donavan Grondin (left) and France's Benjamin Thomas (right) during the Madison 50km final at the world track cycling championships in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, southwest of Paris, on 16 October 2022.

Donavan Grondin, who evolves within the Arkéa-Samsic team, was sharper. I managed to make the hole [sur le reste du peloton]he says. It took us a long time to do a lap, but as soon as it was done we had a margin and we made sure of it. »

Also read: Track Cycling World Championships: Mathilde Gros wins gold in sprint

With the strength of this title of world champions, Thomas and Grondin look to the future with envy, and especially to the year 2024, when the track events of the Olympic Games in Paris will take place in this same Saint-Quentin-en velodrome. -Yvelines. . In 2021 in Tokyo, for the American’s return to the Olympic Games program, the French duo had already won a bronze medal. In two years in France, they will seek victory without complexes. We dream of goldadmits Benjamin Thomas. We want to be there. It will be quicker at the Games and we were here in a particular end-of-season context with a lot of tired riders. So it’s still a good reference, but we’re not going to get carried away. For the Games nothing is done, we will try to remain competitive and continue working. »

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