Kévin Vauquelin takes his first win of the season!
Kévin Vauquelin rounded off the Étoile de Bessèges with victory on the final stage, an Alès-Alès time trial that finished at the summit of the Côte de l’Ermitage. His success puts him in 2nd place in the final overall classification, two seconds behind Denmark’s Mads Pedersen.
Photos : Getty Images
“I was aiming for overall success in this Étoile de Bessèges. I knew that to achieve that goal, I had to set a good time in Alès. The time trial is a battle against yourself that I enjoy. I’m delighted to win this final stage, and to give my team, ARKEA-B&B HOTELS, its first road victory of the year. Mads Pedersen isn’t just any rider, he’s a champion. He beat me by twelve seconds last year in this individual time trial, and tonight the gap between us in the final overall classification is just two seconds! I learned that I’d finished second when I heard Daniel Mangeas’s comments. I’m obviously delighted to win this individual time trial, which validates the work I’ve put in throughout the winter with the ARKEA-B&B HOTELS team. This Sunday we can see that it has paid off. I hope this is just the beginning. The ARKEA-B&B HOTELS team has been top notch all week: my team-mates, the staff. We did everything right. We were aiming for the overall classification, and we stuck to that objective with application. Because of our lack of openness on the online stages, we couldn’t do any better. I’d like to thank the whole ARKEA-B&B HOTELS team for their support”.
“We suspected that the Mads Pedersen-Kévin Vauquelin head-to-head would come down to the final overall classification of this Étoile de Bessèges. Kévin put in a great performance, showing that he’s in very good shape at the start of the season, and above all that he’s progressing. He’s on the right track, and ahead of last year. Kévin finished this Étoile de Bessèges very strongly, beating some big names in the time trial, including Bettiol and Pedersen. Now he’s got to build on that over the long term.”
“We had some great emotions on this Étoile de Bessèges. I think this first 2024 victory is good for everyone. It’s always important to start a year by scoring fairly quickly. It’s done, the counter is open. Kévin is second in the overall classification of the Étoile de Bessèges, beaten by a rider of the calibre of Mads Pedersen, who I’m not going to introduce to you. But I’m not going to lie, the two seconds missing from our goal leave me with a few regrets. Like my riders, I’m a competitor. I’m in this business to win alongside them. Now we have to look ahead. Kévin had a superb time trial. Not everything is perfect yet, and that’s good, we still have a lot of work to do. And we’re going to keep on working. I’d also like to pay tribute to Laurent Pichon, who made a fine debut alongside me as sports director, and who immediately found his place in his new job.”