Classic, but unpredictable, Paris-Tours, a long straight line marked out on the map of France, is in reality an ace in the art of foiling predictions. The forecast is for wind and drizzle? It is in fact the sun that accompanies the pack of riders on the route. The finest experts from the world of cycling predict a mass sprint finish? They are reduced to silence by a Richard Virenque or a Jacky Durand, arms raised in triumph at the finish of a solo win. If the flame of Paris-Tours still burns so fiercely after more than one hundred years of existence, it is also due to its ability to use its apparent drawbacks to its own advantage. Its position on the calendar, which places it as one of the last major cycling races of the season, makes Paris-Tours the perfect host for superb comeback assaults.Its route, mostly flat and straight, and, in theory, little suited for action packed sudden shifts in events, can just as easily lend itself to strategic manoeuvres, if the wind is blowing in the right direction.And the number of prize wins accumulated over the year does not make the slightest difference:the champion’s instinct recognises inParis-Tours the taste of glorious victory.
For the 100th edition of the race an unexpected scenario once again thwarted the famous sprinters’ race, high on the list of anticipated outcomes. A number of the favourites, trapped in a group drifting at the back of the race, gave up along the way, allowing the daring to seize their chance: an additional trait particular to Paris-Tours. At the finish, Frédéric Guesdon added another prestigious classic to his list of achievements, nine years after his victory in Paris-Roubaix. For a persistent hard worker, often ranked but seldom rewarded, the victory has symbolic value, a state of affairs dearly-loved by the legend of cycling.