Wow, this might be one of the most astonishing quotes Twisted Spoke has read this year.
It comes courtesy of Francaise des Jeux trainer Frédéric Grappe and it concerns the training methods of their top new rider Pierrick Fédrigo — or rather lack of said methods.
We quote: “He doesn’t write down his kilometers nor his training hours. When he makes a performance, he doesn’t know how he was able to do it. When he starts a race, he doesn’t know if he’s good or not. It is only 40 kilometers before the finish, when he checks out the faces of his rivals, that he understands whether he can win. He measures his form by comparison to others, he doesn’t know himself. If he agrees, I would like to give him a little bit of methodology,” Grappe said.
Does that blow your mind? Can you ever possibly imagine someone saying that about Lance Armstrong or Alberto Contador or Ivan Basso or Cadel Evans or any rider who has any plans of accomplishing a major goal? There’s no other word for it but unprofessional.
It’s training attitudes like this that bring back all the criticism of French riders from everyone from UCI president Pat “hot air” McQuaid (who called them soft) to Bernard Hinault (who called them lazy and over-paid.)
Now, in Fedrigo’s defense, he did manage to win stage 16 in the Tour de France this year. But also admitted to feeling like a bundle of nerves and working with a sports psychologist because mentally “I am still quite fragile.”
Okay, so essentially the Frenchmen doesn’t have a good idea of how strong he is physically because of his haphazard training methods and isn’t sure how mentally strong he is, either. Yikes.
This also reminds Twisted Spoke of the fine (and final) interview with Mapei coach Aldo Sassi in the latest issue of Cycle Sport magazine. The one thing that the great Italian trainer underlined more than anything else was building the confidence of his athletes by providing them with clear markers of their fitness level. He would show them the numbers and say “you can win race X or race Y” with those numbers.
Sounds like Pierrick Fédrigo could have benefited from Sassi’s approach to building form and confidence. We wish Francaise des Jeux trainer Frédéric Grappe the best of luck. Fédrigo has the biggest nose in the peloton but does he have a clue?