It is with the bib of the assistant director of the Tour de La Provence (from Thursday to Sunday) that Marion Rousse agreed to confide. Not with that of Julian Alaphilippe’s companion. No question for her to return to the announcement of her next maternity. With her companion world champion, it is a road that she wants to preserve as much as possible. But she nevertheless agreed to mention the presence of Alaphilippe on this southern event dear to her heart.
What state of mind are you in before the start of the Tour de La Provence scheduled for Thursday?
MARION RUSSE. There is a form of excitement because I can’t wait to be at the start. There is a year of work behind us and I approach this race as a competitor. This year, there was a little more stress because we experienced a lot of minute reversals, still obviously linked to the pandemic. Now everything is in the nails.
Did you fear for a moment that the race would not take place?
I did not go that far, but the hardest part was that all the problems encountered were not our fault. We did not know anything about it. We, with Pierre-Maurice Courtade, the director, asked ourselves a few questions. It’s still our baby (smile). And it would be hard to see the race not take place.
Do you regret having accepted on a whim in 2018 to start a race organization when you did not know anything about it?
Not at all. It was not something that necessarily attracted me when I had my job on TV at the same time. But I wanted to go for it because I was not offered to play the godmother and smile in the photos. It’s a real job and I got caught up in the game. This race changed my vision of cycling.
Did the presence of Julian Alaphilippe at the start help keep the race going?
It can only do good when running. We are very happy to have a world champion at the start. And, even without a rainbow jersey, it’s still Julian. So that means there will be a great race with him. He remains an attacker. The organizer that I am is delighted to have her on the starting line. After that, it’s not the right year to have a world champion because people will not be able to approach him. And I can tell you that he is the first frustrated. But this isolation between the runners and the public is the price to pay for the race to take place.
Is his presence a gift when he usually starts his season in South America?
No, that was planned. Even before the races in Argentina and Colombia were canceled, he told me: “I want to run the Tour de la Provence. He did not want to go far this year with the Covid. He didn’t know if he wasn’t going to be stranded there. And, for several years, he had returned ill from Colombia because of the change in temperature. No, it had been a long time since Julian came to our race.
What does he like about this race?
It was important to him, with his jersey, to start with France. The course and the temperature also suit him. And, when he started out as a runner, he had fought it but giving up. There, he wants to do well. And, of course, he knows how hard we worked to organize it. It will be a special race for Julian.
What will be your program after the Tour de la Provence?
(Smile). There will be no rest. Soon, I will comment on Paris-Nice (Editor’s note: March 7 to 14) then the Classics. I also have a lot of work ahead of me with the organization of the Formula 1 GP at Le Castellet and the preparation of the Tour de Savoie-Mont-Blanc. I have a good schedule to come!
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr