Another leap forwards for Nazon

Jean-Patrick Nazon continued AG2r's dream start to the Tour with a sprint victory that adds to his b

Jean-Patrick Nazon continued AG2r's dream start to the Tour with a sprint victory that adds to his b
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE A little over a year ago, Jean Delatour rider Jean-Patrick Nazon powered off the wheel of Estonian Jaan Kirsipuu, the veteran Ag2r sprinter, to what was then the most important win of his career to date in the final stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk. Following Kirsipuu had been the idea of Nazon's older brother, Damian, himself a sprinter for the Brioches La Boulangre team. Damian had telephoned Jean-Patrick the previous evening with a message: "Don't leave Kirsipuu's wheel, and you'll win," he said. Jean-Patrick did exactly what his brother said. In the final 200 metres of stage three of the Tour de France in Wasquehal today, Nazon came from out of Kirsipuu's shadow again to make his winning bid for the line. The only difference was that, this time, the two sprinters belonged to the same team. And that Kirsipuu, not Damian Nazon, was the man with the bright idea. "I was riding well, just behind Armstrong and Ullrich on both of the cobbled sections," Nazon, 27, recalled tonight. "Jaan saw this and we had a conversation after the final section of pav. He said that I was clearly stronger than him, so I should do the sprint. He would work for me. "I was especially pleased when I won that it should be Jaan who led me out," said Nazon, who took his only other Tour stage on the Champs Elyses in 2003. "Jaan's palmars goes before him and for him to work for me is a great honour. Is it difficult to live with two sprinters in the same team? No, because I have benefited immensely from his experience. I couldn't imagine a better scenario for the team than both of us having won stages in the first three days." With Tuesday's victory Nazon will no doubt consolidate his status as France's most promising, and now most accomplished, sprinter. After winning on France's most famous avenue last year, he might have joined Quick Step but was advised by Laurent Jalabert, amongst others, to stay in France. Jalabert also told Nazon to shrug off any suggestions that his win on the Champs or an earlier one-day stint in the yellow jersey were no more than lucky breaks. Although proud of those achievements, Nazon is not likely to dwell on what remain isolated peaks in a stuttering six-year career to date. "You know, you can't live off a victory on the Champs Elyses forever," he said this evening. "I really want to prove that what I achieved in the Tour wasn't a fluke. No two Tours are ever the same, so it was no foregone conclusion that I would be successful here. The green jersey? I'm pleased to be wearing it, but it's not a goal of my Tour as such. When I feel like going for points at the intermediate sprints, I will. If I don't, I won't."
This article was published by BikeRadar, the world's leading source of bike reviews, gear reviews, riding advice and route information
  • Discipline: Road, Mountain, Urban, Womens
  • Location: UK, USA, Australia
Back to top