Wilfried Peeters annoyed, Damien Gaudin thrilled, Louis Garneau overjoyed.
That’s the story on the 2.9 kilometer prologue in Paris-Nice after Peeters threw some sour grapes on the road. Race to the Sun and Peeters all dark and gloomy.
The Omega-Druga-Quickstep DS complained that Gaudin beat his man Sylvain Chavanel by 56 hundreds of a second because he wore a long sleeve skin-suit and stuck some tape over a helmet vent.
Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad that “Sylvain rode with short sleeves while Gaudin wore long sleeves. This kind of detail made the difference.” Well, is it Gaudin’s fault that Cava made a poor decision on his kit that morning and decided to show off his bare arms? Save that one fashion decision for the beach in Nice.
On the matter of the helmet tape job, Peeters did have a legal UCI point. It’s against the rules and how race officials missed that one does make you wonder. But he is a Frenchman riding a big French stage race and perhaps zee naughty tape, it is difficle a voir. Zut alors!
Still, sour grapes from Peeters. “Gaudin had a sticker on his helmet, which is in principle not allowed. It covered a vent in the helmet.” Chavanel rode “sans tape” and perhaps the French National kit does come not with a skin-suit.
While Peeters was miffed, Louis Garneau, the apparel supplier for Europcar had to be excited with Gaudin’s suprise victory. In the last year they’ve jumped into the higher end on their cycling technical wear. The new Course and Corse lines are super cool and super fast. That half second win will bump the sales numbers this quarter.
“Damien is a very meticulous and very applied person. He adores time trials and he always does his best to start them in the best of condition,” said Europcar DS Ismael Mottier.
Meticulous is the right word and you could throw in risk-taking as Gaudin was hyper aggressive in those thirteen corners around the streets of Houilles in the burbs of Paris.
Chavanel also took a major risk: no skin-suit. Bad risk.