See life in yellow. After eight years at Cofidis, Christophe Laporte is having the best start to the season of his career with the jumbo Visma, the fashionable outfit in recent years. Aligned with Paris-Roubaix, on Sunday April 17, together with Wout Van Aert, the Varois once again hope to shine and, why not, do better than their sixth place last year in the Hell of the North.
“We did a three-week course at altitude, I had never done it in my career. We optimized all the points in equipment and training”Christophe Laporte explained, after having conquered, in Paris-Nice, his first victory in the UCI circuit, 6th of March. The Frenchman seems transformed since he swapped the red tunic for the yellow and black outfit.
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His victory at Mantes-la-Ville is the best example. Known for his qualities as a sprinter, he eventually won the cup as a puncher. In a pothole that seemed innocuous given the qualities of the runners present in the peloton, the native of Seyne-sur-Mer had blown up everyone except his teammates Wout Van Aert and Primoz Roglic. A blow that was noticed by his two leaders, who had let him cross the line first to take the yellow jersey.
end of February, yesThe first departure at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne had already been noted. Present among the fugitives, Christophe Laporte had been caught a few hectometers from the finish line before qualifying for eighth. A few weeks later, it was at the E3 Grand Prix where he wowed everyone. “Wout went full speed and I was the only one who could follow him”, had summed up upon arrival. In the wheel of his leader of the day, the Varois had taken second place in this classic before repeating the following week in Ghent-Wevelgem, this time defeated by the sensation Biniam Girmay.
This evolution did not surprise a wise observer, Patric Lefévère, the boss of the Quick-Step so impressive in general about the classics: “You only have to look at his positions in these races in recent years to understand that one day he could reach this level,” explained to The team Last March. And to continue: “We are not second in A Travers les Flandres (in 2012) and fourth in Gand-Wevelgem (in 2018) by chance.”
In Paris-Roubaix, Christophe Laporte will be one of the cartridges of the Dutch formation. Will be present Wout Van Aert, who is recovering from a Covid-19 infection, but he himself indicated that he would play the role of companion. Laporte, therefore, should have his card to play in the Hell of the North. His burst of speed and his agility on the cobbles, combined with his start to the season in style, make him one of the natural favorites to raise his arms at the Vélodrome de Roubaix. Sixth last year, the Habs, who never cease to surprise, want to do better, but the competition will be tough and the blows will have to be felt. That’s good, since the start of the season, Christophe Laporte has already shown on several occasions that he had a nose for it.