"Differences in Levels," Judge Jeannie Longo

“Differences in Levels,” Judge Jeannie Longo

French cycling legend, Jeannie Longo, three-time winner of the Ladies Tour de France in the 1980s, points “a few too many teams not at the best international level” on the Great Loop, for which she still makes Annemiek van Vleuten the favourite, ahead of the decisive weekend in the Vosges, in a telephone interview with AFP.

READ ALSO. The general classification of the Tour de France women after the sixth stage

Does Annemiek van Vleuten remain the favorite despite being a minute and a half behind Marianne Vos?

She will give her all in the last two stages. Only on this basis can it be properly expressed. She has the means to spare a few minutes. I think she must not feel very comfortable in this platoon of 144 elements with these level differences.

Could this explain some of the falls?

In my opinion, there are a few too many teams, teams that are not at the best international level with young people rubbing shoulders with no room to manoeuvre. They pass with barely room for the handlebars, so it inevitably touches everywhere. Some may also have inattention. Women going full force into the peloton on the ground like Monday, that’s not normal. I think 144 runners at the start is a lot. But falls still happen.

“We had the roads all to ourselves”

Are the organization and funds superior to the Tour of the 1980s?

No, we had the roads all to ourselves, Republican Guard bikers for transfers and all. It was great, we had the best as an organization. The July men’s tour crowd was there for us too. For the first two years, people didn’t even know there was a women’s tour (like curtain raiser, editor’s note) because there was no communication that year. But then they came on purpose, even strangers came to encourage their own. It was a desire to stop the women’s Tour de France. It was said to be complicated, to cost money. Organizations in general, when there is a moment of economic weakness, they keep the gentlemen, the top of the group, and abandon what is paid a little less.

Is it always the risk?

I met famous and great women like Antoinette Fouquet or Simone Weil. I’ve always been told, “You have to be careful, because there are euphoric years where you get better, but it quickly wears off.” It gives the impression that the man is swallowing his pride, saying “We need women”, but this is not a given, it is never permanently acquired.

Marc Madiot? “He evolved”

We can no longer imagine Marc Madiot saying that “a woman on a bicycle is ugly” as he told you in 1987 on TV…

He evolved, he was a young man in the peloton. I can cite others. Some of them didn’t really appreciate me being prominent and women doing the same things as them. They were giants on the road, and we arrived as little dwarfs on the tarmac, as I called us then.

A hugely accomplished midget, with five World Road Race titles (1985-1987, 1989, 1995), three Tours de France (1987-1989) and an Olympic title (1996)… What is your best memory?

They are different. With the Olympic title, I had the impression that everything changed. It was like a pass. People’s view changes completely, it is the planet that looks at you. During the Olympics, the audience watches all disciplines, all sports. But it was a lot of emotions to arrive at the Champs-Élysées and in yellow. I don’t remember if I paraded with Pedro Delgado. But with Greg (Lemond) and Stephen (Roche), yes. With Steven it was also our big year (1987), we did the double Tour of France and the World Championship.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.