Coming into the Amstel Gold Race, AG2R-Citroën sporting director Julien Jurdie had set a Top 10 target at this Saturday’s briefing. This ambition did not suit its leader Benoit Cosnefroy. “He told me it wasn’t enough and that he wanted more. I got that message right. This morning I made it clear to the boys that they should not hesitate and that all the figures from 1 to 10 were available. Benoit is in the perspective of a winner, not to put up a barrier. Honestly, seeing him as an actor in a career makes me happy.” And as proof, Benoit Cosnefroy finished 2nd in the Dutch Classic (see the ranking), beaten with a gut in a two-man sprint by Poland’s Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers). Norman recalls performing him for DirectVelo.
DirectVelo – He is announced as the winner on the RadioTour, and eventually takes second place after examining the end of the photograph. What an emotional uplift!
Benoit Cosnefroy: When I crossed the line, I had no idea if I had won or if I was 2nd. When I get to the area with the healers, I hear that they have announced me as the winner and I explode with joy. It was when I got to the podium that they told me I was 2nd. Suddenly, he came down again… I saw the photo, there is no possible doubt. I think the stewards, with the means available at the moment, could have waited a bit before announcing the winner to me on RadioTour.
What sentiment prevails now?
Looking back, I am happy with this podium. Could have won the Amstel Gold Race. It was played by a great instinct. Congratulations to Michal Kwiatkowski on his victory. I’m happy for myself and for the group. I had an almost perfect race. I put myself in a position to win. I ran into a Michal Kwiatkowski and there’s the game. What I’m looking for is a success, a Clásico in the WorldTour. It is not yet for this time. The 2, we will not remember. I expected his legs to hurt more and that he wouldn’t have been able to get up from the chair, but he found the strength to beat me.
ONE MORE KWIATKOWSKI CALCULATOR
How was the agreement in the final with Michal Kwiatkowski?
I pressed harder on the pedals. He was really in the running for the podium while Michal Kwiatkowski did some more calculating. He had a letter behind with Thomas Pidcock. My game was to get to the sprint with him. I saw that he had problems in the mountains. She hoped he wasn’t on top. When I went into battle to catch him, I laid down all my cards while he tried to make the others work. We didn’t have the same strategy. However, I felt very strong. I told myself that he could win anyway. In the end, the difference is very small. My strategy was not completely crazy.
Could you have done differently in this sprint?
It could have started a little later. I really thought I was stronger than him. A long sprint in the wind, I felt it was the right choice to start from afar, but in the end it wasn’t.
“THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD”
You feel very serene. You already manage to put this defeat in perspective…
If I start crying after a podium, I have to stop the bike. It is in my nature, it is my strength, it is my way of being, it helps me in difficult moments of life as in high-level sport. It’s not the end of the world either.
What is your program for the next few weeks?
On Wednesday I will be at the Flèche Brabançonne. Then, I will continue with the Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The fact that the Ardennes are spread over two weeks changes nothing for me.