UNVEILING OF THE ROUTES FOR 2023

The unveiling of the routes for the 2023 Tour de France and Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift will take place on Thursday 27th October from 11.30 (UTC+2) at the Palais des Congrès convention centre in Paris.

Brittany through their own eyes (IV/V)

Brittany is especially prominent on the route of this year’s Tour de France, with the grand départ in Brest one of a total of four stages visiting the region’s four departments. And although the record number of fourteen Breton participants set in 1958 is safe for another year, the 2021 peloton will still contain around ten local riders who are each set to experience a unique mixture of emotion and pride. Five of them tell letour.fr all about their home region, from their childhood memories to their relationship with the local culture – while never straying too far from the subject of cycling.
For David Gaudu, the Tour’s visit to Brittany will mark the start of a new personal adventure as he assumes the role of Groupama-FDJ team leader for the first time. As a local boy, he is aiming to start in spectacular style with a win on the Mûr-de-Bretagne, just a few kilometres from his home.

David Gaudu: “Seeing your family and friends on the roadside, it’s wonderful”

Born: 10 October 1996 in Landivisiau, Brittany
Teams: FDJ (2016-2017), Groupama-FDJ (2018-2021)
Notable results:
2013: winner of the Grand Prix de la Mine, Poullaouen
2014: winner of Aubel-Thimister-La Gleize
2015: stage winner at the Ronde Finistérienne and the Tour d'Auvergne
2016: winner of the Course de la Paix and the Tour de l’Avenir
2017: stage winner at the Tour de l’Ain (2nd in general classification), 9th in the Flèche Wallonne
2018: 2nd in the Mémorial Marco Pantani
2019: stage winner at the Tour de Romandie, 3rd in the UAE Tour, 6th at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
2020: double stage winner at the Vuelta a España (8th in the general classification)
2021: winner of the Faun-Ardèche Classic, stage winner at the Tour of the Basque Country (5th in the general classification), 7th in the Flèche Wallonne, 3rd at Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Record at the Tour de France: 2018, 34th / 2019, 13th / 2020, DNF (retired following Stage 16)

BREST, FRANCE - JULY 12: David Gaudu of team FDJ during the stage 06 of the Tour de France 2018 on July 12, 2018 in Brest / Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan, France. (Photo by James Startt/Agence Zoom)
BREST, FRANCE - JULY 12: David Gaudu of team FDJ during the stage 06 of the Tour de France 2018 on July 12, 2018 in Brest / Mûr de Bretagne Guerlédan, France. (Photo by James Startt/Agence Zoom) © PRESSE SPORTS
gaudu (david) – (fra) – || 118561_0002  France <motCle99> COMPETITION GROS PLAN GROUPAMA FDJ SOURIANT </motCle99>
gaudu (david) – (fra) – || 118561_0002 France <motCle99> COMPETITION GROS PLAN GROUPAMA FDJ SOURIANT </motCle99> © PRESSE SPORTS
gaudu (david) – (fra) –
gaudu (david) – (fra) – © PRESSE SPORTS

A corner of Brittany
“I am Breton and French. It works both ways, and I’m always sure to make that clear when I introduce myself. It’s almost like having dual nationality.” There is no hint of ambiguity when it comes to the sense of pride that David Gaudu feels for his Breton identity, the result of a life lived in two departments: “I used to live in Landivisiau and now I live in Quintin, in the Côtes d’Armor department. I’m not really a traitor because my parents are from Côtes d’Armor. They moved to Finistère for work, so that’s where I was born, but all my family’s origins are in the 22*.” Indeed, David literally went back to his roots made when he chose to move to his current home, around 20 kilometres from Saint-Brieuc: “I always said that I would build my own house as soon as I had a job, so that’s what I did when I signed my first professional contract. I was out riding when I saw a sign marking a plot of land for sale. I went to take a look and just fell in love with it. It’s a kilometre from where my mum grew up. Even though, when I was little, I hated going to my grandmother’s house because it was boring. In reality, I love this village.”
The description of Quintin given by the town’s most celebrated ambassador also makes note of its vicinity to some magnificent training routes: “My house is perched on a small hill overlooking the castle and the church. It’s very calm. But for me, the most beautiful area is Cap Fréhel and the Fort la Latte castle. When I ride out that way, it’s all there right in front of me. It’s a five-hour ride, full of climbs and descents along the coastline. Each time you reach the crest of a hill, you get a view of the next beach along. It’s wonderful.”

Itzulia Basque Country 2021 - 60th Edition - 6th stage Ondarroa - Arrate (Eibar) 111,9 km - 10/04/2021 - David Gaudu (FRA - Groupama - FDJ) - Primoz Roglic (SLO - Jumbo - Visma) - photo Luis Angel Gomez || 138469_0031 Arrate Espagne <motCle99> ACTION JOIE
Itzulia Basque Country 2021 - 60th Edition - 6th stage Ondarroa - Arrate (Eibar) 111,9 km - 10/04/2021 - David Gaudu (FRA - Groupama - FDJ) - Primoz Roglic (SLO - Jumbo - Visma) - photo Luis Angel Gomez || 138469_0031 Arrate Espagne <motCle99> ACTION JOIE © PRESSE SPORTS
valverde (alejandro) - (esp) -  gaudu (david) - (fra) -
valverde (alejandro) - (esp) - gaudu (david) - (fra) - © PRESSE SPORTS
FRANCE Ð AUGUST 11: David Gaudu of France, Thibaut Pinot of Team FDJ during Stage Three LAGNIEU > OYONNAX  of the Tour de l'Ain on Friday 11 August, 2017, Oyonnax France. (Photo by James Startt/Agence Zoom)
FRANCE Ð AUGUST 11: David Gaudu of France, Thibaut Pinot of Team FDJ during Stage Three LAGNIEU > OYONNAX of the Tour de l'Ain on Friday 11 August, 2017, Oyonnax France. (Photo by James Startt/Agence Zoom) © PRESSE SPORTS

The Breton spirit
David Gaudu does not have to look far to find people whose attachment to Brittany is even stronger than his own. His parents are Breton to the core, above all his father Bertrand, a former mountain biker who was converted to road cycling by his son. “My parents are true Bretons, they instilled their values in me. If I’m as stubborn as I am, then I owe it to them. My dad is worse than me, much worse.” That particular character trait – widely accepted to be shared by many in the region – suggests a similarity with another important figure in David’s life. Although hailing from just the other side of the border with Ille-et-Vilaine, Marc Madiot won multiple Brittany titles at a time when the town of Mayenne fell within the jurisdiction of the Brittany cycling committee – and he had no reason to feel inferior to his neighbours when it came to character. “He’s got a bit of that mentality,” admits the young champion. “You could go as far as to say that Bernard Hinault and Marc Madiot, in terms of temperament, they’re cut from the same cloth.”
While he may never have had the honour of wearing the jersey as champion of Brittany, having won only the junior team time trial at regional level with UC Briochine, Gaudu feels a genuine attachment to the Breton flag. And its omnipresence at cycling events only serves to reinforce his sense of regional pride. “There are Bretons all around the world and they broadcast their origins, even when they’re far away. I travel a lot with my job, and I’ve seen Gwenn-ha-du flags everywhere, even at the UAE Tour. I’m sure there will be a couple on the side of the road at the Tokyo Games, pandemic or no pandemic!”
 
A cycling region
A passion for cycling is another of the defining characteristics that unites the people of Brittany. “First and foremost, you’ve got to be impressed by the sheer number of races,” explains Gaudu. “From the cadet level onwards, the possibilities are huge. During the summer, you can race seven times a week if you want.” Whether people are active cyclists or not, the sport also dominates everyday conversations throughout the region. Yet there are very few arguments in any poll to decide the ultimate Breton champion: “In any café, you can talk about cycling with everyone, but it all quickly comes back to Bernard Hinault.”

gaudu (david) - (fra) -
gaudu (david) - (fra) - © PRESSE SPORTS
cosnefroy (benoit)  madouas (valentin)  gaudu (david)
cosnefroy (benoit) madouas (valentin) gaudu (david) © PRESSE SPORTS
gaudu (david) - (fra) -
gaudu (david) - (fra) - © PRESSE SPORTS

The Tour in Brittany
David Gaudu was not in Brittany when he saw the Tour de France peloton pass by for the first time: “it was at Le Tourmalet, where we’d gone as a family.” However, he found himself in the heart of the action during his first Tour de France in 2018, which spent three days in Brittany – including a stage in his own backyard. “I was looking forward to the Mûr-de-Bretagne stage, that was my day. I know these roads down to the smallest turn, I really was on home terrain. It was towards the end of the first week, so it was a bit less stressful by then. And during the stage, we knew that it was going to be decided on the climbs, so we rode a bit like in training, albeit with a number on our bums. More than anything, it’s all the people shouting your name! Seeing all your family and friends on the roadside, it’s wonderful. My parents were in Kerfaven, I was really emotional when I saw them.”

2021: nothing is off-limits
Despite having already ridden at three editions of the Tour de France, David Gaudu has yet to truly leave his mark on the race. Following a debut appearance in 2018, a nightmarish finale involving Thibaut Pinot’s injury in 2019 and a 2020 edition spoiled before it truly began by a crash on day one, the 2021 race offers the chance for a fresh start. He will set off on his home grand départ as team leader for Groupama-FDJ, a sign of the progress he has made since his two stage victories at the Vuelta. And just perhaps a good omen too, given that he will have four opportunities to succeed Bernard Hinault as the last homegrown victor of a stage in Brittany (winner of a time trial in Plumelec in 1985). “That would be incredible, especially on the Mûr-de-Bretagne. I live 20 kilometres away and it’s our Alpe d’Huez. You never can tell because you’re playing a game of poker on that climb, it’s impossible to know what will happen. Alexis Vuillermoz won there, Dan Martin won there, and on both occasions they weren’t the big favourites. But they both attacked at the same place, one kilometre from the line! We also know that it’ll depend on what the wind’s doing on the final climb, because there’s a risk you’ll burn out. In any case if I win, I think I’ll cry. I want to continue my good start to the season. I’ve managed to compete with the best and experience some great emotions – so great that I want to have those feelings every time. I’m hungry!”

* 22 is the department number of Côtes d’Armor.
 
Brittany through their own eyes: the previous episodes, available now:
. Cyril Gautier: “Hearing bagads, it makes my hairs stand on end” (I/V)
. Valentin Madouas: “People from Brittany never give up, we stick at it” (II/V)
. Elie Gesbert: “The Gwenn-ha-du jersey has an aura about it” (III/V)

© PRESSE SPORTS

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