Triple-double to mark the spirits a little more. Since the start of the season, Conti Groupama-FDJ, the WorldTeam reserve team of the same name, has been consistently showing good results. Another proof of this is Enzo Paleni’s final success on Sunday in the Triptych of Mountains and Castles (2.2U). The team has already won seven victories since the beginning of the season. In the Youngster Coast Challenge (1.2U), Jensen Plowright and Paul Penhoet both raised their hands on the lane after a formidable double. A week later, they switched roles, and it was the Frenchman’s turn to get ahead of the Australian, this time at the Tour of Normandy stage (2.2). – picture above –. And last weekend, in addition to the overall success of Enzo Paleni in Belgium, Jensen Plowright (so far) won the stage ahead of… his British teammate Samuel Watson, who himself won the Ghent-Wevelgem Espoirs a few days earlier in his team jersey. National team.
“REMUNERATION FOR ALL THE WORKS THAT HAVE BEEN DONE IN THREE YEARS”
Under these conditions, when Conti Groupama-FDJ is collecting successes and even doubling, the CEO of the development structure, Jens Blatter, can only rejoice. “I think we are the best reserve team in the UCI at the moment. It’s even safe, in my opinion. We are rewarded for all the work that has been done in three years. We knew from the start of the season that we had a very good team. We feel a very good atmosphere in the team, incredible cohesion. And it all pays off in the long run, of course.”rejoices the Swiss DirectVeloon the sidelines of the Triptych of Mont-and-Chateau. “We came here with a very strong team. We knew we could win overall, but we also wanted to win the stage. We succeeded. Enzo (Paleni) took his chance on the first day, and that is why he was in the leading position for the rest of the weekend, even if we originally imagined Sam Watson in this role. Enzo did the right thing. He persevered and won the overall standings, I take my hat off to him.”.
At the start of the 2022 season, things went really fast for Conti. “Once we opened the counter, it got everyone excited, but it also put pressure. Everyone wanted to do the same. The fact that many riders are at this level will make it difficult to choose who will eventually join the WorldTeam.”smiles Jens Blatter. Before continuing: “But at the same time, this is the main goal. If other young people can join the World Tour through another team, in addition to those who will go down with us, that’s good for them too.”.
“FROM THEM YOU NEED TO LEAVE PLACES”
If this reserve team continues to compete at the same level and with several different riders during the season, will it be possible to see four or even five elements of the structure joining the WorldTeam? “I believe it’s possible, yes”Jens Blatter answers. A speech reminiscent of Jean-René Bernaudo’s who explained that he has no quota or limit on the number of Vendée U riders who can join TotalEnergies in 2023 (read here). “Mark (Madio) has always said that Conti is very important because it is the future of the team. We, for our part, did the work with this group. Now it’s up to them to make room.”.
Therefore, it will undoubtedly be difficult to make a choice among the employees of Groupama-FDJ. “I hope it will be hard!”, laughs Jens Blatter, pleased to have a band of this caliber. Moreover, in early April, the season – after all – is just beginning! “So far we have had classic and sprint finishes which have allowed some of our riders to shine. We see the riders ready to join the first team of the World Tour. But we also have a second part of the team with climbers Lenny Martinez, Romain Gregoire or Ruben Thompson who haven’t raced yet. I hope they do the same.”. To be always more ambitious, while in the coming weeks several members of Conti will continue to try the top world level by participating in certain races with the parent company. “This is the best way to connect. When they come with us to the Espoirs races, you pass an important milestone and feel the difference.”.