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Cycling | Coping with abandonment | Tour de France 2021

Cycling | Coping with abandonment | Tour de France 2021

They are 39 to have abandoned the Cycling Tour de France on this edition. How is the rest from cycling for those who leave the route de la Grande Boucle?

They disappear from the radar overnight in a terse press release, like Peter Sagan, an explanatory video like Warren Barguil, or even the cold verdict of a late arrival in the Alps, like Arnaud Démare or Bryan Coquard. At the start of the third week, they are 39 out of 184 to have already left the road of the Tour de France 2021, an abnormally high figure. The abandoned consequence of a fall meant in a delay or choice of objects is part of the life of the Tour. The rest is rarely told.

This passage is from the fury of the race to the loneliness of everyday life. In 2021, Cyril Lemoine experienced all from the enthusiasm on the roads. To that of the painkiller on the bedside table of the hospital. The rider of the B&B Hotels-KTM team left the race on the first stage, a victim of a violent collective fall. “I had four fractured ribs, a pneumothorax, two bone tears at the level of the vertebrae and stitches,” reveals in a quick medical assessment the one who was to support Bryan Coquard.


With his first retirement, the Tourangeau discovered the difficulty of forced abdication after six completed Tours de France. “I broke down when I was in the emergency room, on the phone with my partner. It’s normal. We’re all human. It pissed me off to leave the Tour, to leave the team, all the preparation in upstream, the state of form I had “, reveals Cyril Lemoine.

How do you experience this scathing cockroach, this moment when everything relentlessly collapses after so much preparation? 

“It broke me mentally. It was hard to come back then”, remembers Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers), forced to retire at the Giro in May, after having already fallen in the last Tour de France, then in the Tour Alpes. “I stayed six days in the hospital,  explains Cyril Lemoine.  In the beginning, I said to myself that I should be there when I saw the Tour on television. But there is no need to rehash, and we must move forward. “

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Blues brothers

The hardest thing to manage once the race is over? “It is first of all the human side, the friends and the team, rather than myself. I leave my seven friends without me. It is above all that which leaves me bitter”, confesses Cyril Lemoine. Away from the eyes, but not from the telephone, allows you not to feel isolated, especially when going to the hospital. “I am still in the WhatsApp group that we are creating on the Tour. I still muted it a bit because there are many messages for managing the stages, he continues with a smile. I got many texts from my teammates, and the sports directors even called me in the middle of the stage this week! “


What Cyril Lemoine quoted on Cycling?

After the first stage of emotional shock, frustration, and sadness to abandon their bitumen brothers, the asphalt convicts quickly put their heads back on the road. “When you are a pro cyclist, you have a combative temperament. You have to know how to disregard and tell yourself that it is the only sport, that we were on the most beautiful race in the world,” meditates Cyril Lemoine on Cycling.

But the ruts in the road that throw them out of the race also materialize in the healing process. “Physically, the recovery was quite quick. But it takes more energy than you think. Even if you can ride, you feel a little empty”, observes Pavel Sivakov, who heals his wounds before the Olympics on July 24th. “It’s more the messages we receive from people that make you rehash the fall. They send messages of good recovery when morale is better. You have to respond to everyone, by dint of copy and paste! ” laughs Cyril Lemoine.

“As soon as you leave the cycling Tour and come home, that’s when you start to mourn. But it’s also nice to be alone. I have a lonely side, a little bear at times. It allows you to take stock of yourself, to move forward much faster.”

-Cyril Lemoine, rider of the B&B Hotels KTM Cycling training 

If some suffer more than others from abandonment, all agree on one point: the ordeal is hard at the time, but it is only fleeting. “It’s part of the life of a runner: we all take blows. You have to know how to get up. You have to try to put things into perspective, continue to work”, loose Pavel Sivakov. 

Itching to start again cycling

Finally, the last stage is the most dreaded: time to get back on the bike. Depending on the circumstances, this passage can take days, weeks, or even months. Not without apprehension, in particular, following falls which occurred in descents. Pierre Latour (TotalEnergies) knows something about it: the Drômois had fallen in a descent then abandoned in February during the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var.

He has since re-ride on the bike, but the anguish is still there: dropped in descent, he had lost a lot during the 8th stage made terrible by the rain. Anxiety that Cyril Lemoine does not share:  “It happened to me in 2012 to take a big fall. It was not at all stuck in my mind. I have this faculty to erase everything, so I do not don’t worry about going back to shopping “.

The model team member of the Breton cycling training is soon finished with his recovery. “At the end of the Tour, I’ll get back on my home trainer, so I can stop if I’m still in pain,” considers the Tourangeau. Mental “reset,” oxygenation welcome to the family. Soon, he will be back on his mount, which never ceases to give him eyes.

“This week, I saw my bike which was in the garage: I got back on it to see, to put myself in position. It was itching a little. I hope to go riding soon, to get away from it all on my roads”. The pain will be digested and buried. The fury of the race will resume its rights, like an addiction that no abandonment can alter.


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