You take part this year in the French Championships with your new club, the VCESQY TeamVoussert. Can you tell us about the role of the club during the season and for your career?
Quentin Lafargue: I joined the VCESQY last October with teammate Quentin Caleyron. Voussert has been my partner for several years and is also the club’s major sponsor. I suggested them a long term project. They liked the idea and submitted the project to the club. It all went very fast and the journey began. Quentin Caleyron and I have been treated like royalty. Our president, Thierry, and all the leading members of the club, are very caring for us to help us in our day to day life. It is a true new adventure and I’m proud to carry our colors at home for the French Championship.
The competition starts with the kilometer race for which you are world champion. Do you feel more pressure with the rainbow jersey?
QL: No pressure but a strong urge to honor it. My first 2 trials before the race were quite difficult with fairly poor times. On the day of the race, I wanted to do well and wanted to win the French Championship jersey to offer it to our club. Gradually I viewed the results of the others. I didn’t panic despite the level. During the race, I knew that I hadn’t started so well but I didn’t give up. I knew of my finisher’s qualities to reverse the trend in the last round. And it happened! I was extremely happy.
With this victory you get a 10th title in Elite French Championships. How does it feel to reach such a symbolic barrier?
QL: Honestly I was not aware of it. It’s incidental when you do your job. Maybe it is something that becomes important at the end of one’s career but at the moment it doesn’t mean much. What is more important for me is to win the blue white red jersey while wearing the rainbow jersey. Wining the 10thone is pleasant and also means that I have been around for a while.
On the next day you carry on with individual speed. What were your objectives in this field that you haven’t practiced much at a high level during the last recent years?
QL: It’s true. I don’t do much individual speed during international competition. One has to make choices. One can’t have 10,000 objectives. I think the last time I cycled a 200m race in competition was last December in London. I didn’t have a specific objective but only to see if I was physically able to do it. I was very pleased when I checked my time but I told myself straightaway that the other guys would do better. In the end I finish 3rdin 200m matching my personal best time of 9”76. I feel great physically. I’m kicked out in the ¼ finals by the future French Champion, not so much because of mistakes but rather lack of practice. Maybe it didn’t make the right moves and didn’t grasp opportunities.
Keirin is on the last day of competition. Can you tell us about your last day?
QL: When I get to Keirin I’m very determined. I’m ready as if it was a World Cup or an International Competition qualifying round when only the first one is qualified for the rest of the tournament. I feel good and want to make the most of it. The ½ final goes well. I managed to be patient and made the effort when I decided to do so. I win the round. When I check the time during the last 200 last meters, I see 9”98. Doubly thrilled! The final has an exceptional level. All the finalists have done a time below 9”80 the day before in the 200m. This is the signal for an extremely fast final. Vigier draws number 1 and I number 5, Pervis is in my wheel. Pervis decides to take the lead as soon as the motorbike moves aside. I don’t rush. I’m behind Landerneau and I feel like staying behind him until he makes his effort to move up front. In the end he doesn’t move. Pervis awaits at the head of the race and it allows me to make an effort and to create a real speed difference. I give it all and I’m in the lead one lap and a half before the finish line. I know I have made a difference but I also know Vigier is chasing me. I’m still ahead a 100m from the finish line but Vigier is next to me in the curve and I realize it’s going to be tough. I finish second as I did last year. No regrets because I have been active, decisive and fast. My objective is met.
Now tell us about the rest of this pre-Olympic season...
QL: It’s time now for a week to recharge and unwind, for health care to get ready for September. Then we move on to the Apeldoorn European Championships preparation. Later on there will be World Cups rounds that we need to discuss with the staff. The objective is to be totally focused during the full season that we have to do before one can think of the Olympic Games. They are at the back of our mind but we’ll focus on them when the official selection is done at the end of 2020 World Championships in Berlin.
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