One of my favourite riders is about to start in the Tour and he's writing a diary for a French site!
It's a great chance to know him a little better so I decided to translate it. Enjoy!
"I discovered the Tour de France in 2013 with Team Sojasun. Six months earlier, I was still a trainee, far, so far from the Grande Boucle and from this hot passion that fills the roads in July.
As a child, with my father, my cousins and some neighbours, we used to place our tent on the slopes of the Alpe d’Huez. It was the 90ies and Richard Virenque was my idol. I beloved that cheer mood, waiting to see, finally, ethe peloton passing in front of us.
I started the Tour 2013 without any clear expectation, with the beginners' faith and determined to grab that unique chance. I keep a strong emotional memory. In the 3rd stage, in Corse, I had gone in a break-away. Me, the beginner, I found myself in front in the greatest race in the world, between two wings of excited spectators who were cheering me up. In spite I was all focuse on my body, on my heart and on my legs, I could feel what the popular excitement means in the Tour.
I also loved climbing to the top of the Alpe d’Huez because that was a direct link to my childhood, my father and those moments of sharing and joy. Finally I had the chance to finish the race and to taste the last day and the 'tour d’honneur' on the Champs Elysées.
In a few days I'll take part in my second Tour de France. The contextis obviously different. I ride now with Team AG2R LA MONDIALE and we have high expectations. Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Péraud, our two leaders, hope to be high in the final overall, as far as me, I must be there to support them in the mountains, where the race gets decided.
In the last Critérium du Dauphiné, I felt I'm in good shape and that I was able to be in the finale with Nibali, Froome and the others even if they still are a step ahead of me. The important thing is to know that the top level is human and that my ambitions aren't unrealistic.
In the last days I'm often asked about my ambitions. Like may riders, I dream to win a stage, to get a jersey, to race in a strong team ready to fight for three weeks for leaders who are in the game with the big names.
During these three weeks I'll keep you updated about me on a regular basis, very happy to allow the internet readers of Nordic Magazine to share my daily life. Because while I have the chance to ride my bike everywhere in the world my little spot of Jura is always in my heart."