You think professional cycling is a hyper competitive, serious business where every rider studies the race book profile and pre-rides the race course a few time.
Then there’s our new hero Sébastien Minard (Cofidis) who at 27 just notched his first win in Paris-Camembert. Check out his laissez-faire approach to racing with this classic quote: “I do not know much about the course, it was only when I found myself in the break that I requested information from Bernard [Quilfen, director],” Minard told AFP.
Minard’s mental process thus went something like this — translated from the original French– “hey, I might actually win this race. Maybe if should find out something about the course. Is there a hill, a tight right turn, where do they keep the camembert cheese?”
Brilliant stuff. Not the typical Lance Armstrong recon job for Minard. No study with the director sportif mapping out an attack strategy for this French guy.
In fact, here was Minard’s clever method of taking first place. “There was a hesitation at the top and then Méderel attacked, so I followed,” Minard said. There you go, just follow along and see if you can go just a bit faster when that finish line comes up. This guy has a Masters Degree in Racemanship.
Runner-up Maxime Mederel of Big Mat – Auber 93 just didn’t quite have the legs for the cheese. Defeat for a French cyclist in this race is a tough thing. Not easy to return home to your sexy young girlfriend in the lingerie and tell her, cherie, I did not win the cheese.
Naturally, Minard was overjoyed to take the win, drink the champagne and stock up on all that great runny French cheese. Things wouldn’t be near as exciting if this were the Paris-Sharp Cheddar race or the Paris-Provolone.
Camembert makes all the difference and Sebastien, being French, rode straight to the nearest patisserie for a few baguettes. “This victory, I’ve been waiting so long,” said Minard.
Chapeau, camembert, la vie en rose!