Grand Prix de Fourmies 2022: presentation

Samuel Leroux hosted the last Grand Prix de Fourmies (photo JMD/Sports 5962)

The Grand Prix de Fourmies 2022 was presented this Thursday at the Voix du Nord headquarters in Lille. Despite the competition from the Quebec classics, the northern classic once again brings together a huge field of sprinters. The hunt for UCI points explains the enthusiasm of the World Tour teams involved. Fourmies will find on September 11 a configuration fully open to the public after two years of covid. But given the resurgence of the virus on the Tour of Spain, a health bubble will be established around the riders.

For its 89th edition, the Grand Prix de Fourmies will return to its usual setting. Around the race, a local village will sit for three days on the green square, while the post-race concert also returns. Canceled in 2020, then in restricted physiognomy in 2021, the great race of Avesnois returns almost as before, but at a slightly later date.

The GPF will take place a week later than previous schedules. Fourmies thus falls into direct competition with the Quebec and Montreal Grands Prix, which are reborn after two cancellations. Without forgetting the Tour of Spain which ends the same day. Despite everything, the northern classic will once again bring together a fine line-up. So much so that the speaker Daniel Mangeas qualifies him as “World Sprinters Championship”.

An exceptional line-up despite the competition

23 teams are present at this Grand Prix de Fourmies 2022: 11 UCI World Tour, 7 UCO Pros Teams and 5 Continentals including Go Sport Roubaix Lille Métropole. » A plateau worthy of a Tour finish at the Champs-Elysées“, say the organizers.

“Seeing the UCI calendar in February”thus entrusts Jacques Thibaux the chairman of the organizing committee, we said to ourselves that we were going to experience an annus horribilis. But the planets have aligned. Quebec and Montreal finally take place. But despite this, the World Tour teams put their best sprinters in Fourmies. Finally we draw our game map with 11 World Tour formations. We break the ceilings despite this enormous competition ». The hunt for the last UCI points also explains this enthusiasm for threatened formations such as -Soudal, which thus aligns its two cadors Caleb Evan and Arnaud DeLie. Fourmies distributes 200 points.

We will also find the must of the world sprint with the two Dutch Fabio Jakobsen (Quick Step Alpha Vinyl) and Dylan Groenewegen (Team BikeExchange). They won the 2nd and 3rd stages of the Tour de France at the start in Denmark. But we especially remember their dramatic history. It was at the Tour of Poland 2020, when Groenewegen caused a violent fall, which could have cost Jakobsen his life. Since then, the latter has become the best sprinter in the world. What he confirmed by becoming European champion two weeks ago in Munich.

Elia Viviani won in the sprint in 2021 (photo Bruno Bade / LNC)

Fifteen potential winners

Other fast runners can go for the sprint victory. We think of the Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (Intermarché Wanty Gobert), or Colombian Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates). In a second wave, we can also cite the German Max Walscheid (Cofidis), the Italians Jakub Mareczko (Alpecin Fenix) and Niccolo Bonifazio (TotalEnergies) or the former winner of the Grand Prix d’Isbergues Kristoffer Halvorsen (Uno X) and fellow Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen (Total Energy). Without forgetting the French Bryan Coquard (Cofidis), Hugo Hofstetter (Arkéa Samsic), Marc Sarreau (AG2R Citroën), Jason Shard (Saint-Michel Auber 93), Sandy Dujardin and Lorrenzo Manzin (TotalEnergies), as well as the two Picard brothers Rudy (Israel Premier Tech) and Pierre Barbier (B&B Hotels).

The organizers are also hoping for the last-minute arrival of Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin Fenix) and Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ), currently registered as substitutes.

We will also note the presence of the Belgian Yves Lampaert (Quick Step), first yellow jersey of the Tour 2022 after his victory in the inaugural time trial, and the Frenchman Julian Simon (TotalEnergies), who came to defend their first place in the Coupe de France-FDJ.

Classic route for the Grand Prix de Fourmies 2022

The course does not change, with its three loops around Val Joly, with the coasts of Bocquet and Sacré-Coeur. Followed by the final circuit of 11km to be covered 7 times. A route totally offered to sprinters. » Return to a race of fighters? » asks himself Jacky Thibaux. » We don’t have the ribs for that. Those that exist in the area, we are already climbing them. So I don’t think I’ll change this route. First, because we don’t have the bumps for it. And also for security reasons. The three loops of Val Joly are secured by the Gendarmerie. This is very important for an organizer. »

The GPF will also regain its festive aspect of before with a real weekend of entertainment, on Saturday and Sunday. With the free concert But there will still be some restrictions, concerning the runners. After the resurgence of covid on the Tour of Spain, the UCI asks to apply a health bubble again around the competitors. It will therefore not be possible for spectators to go to the coaches of the teams at the start and finish. Autographs and selfies are prohibited. Wearing a mask will be compulsory for people accredited in mixed zones. Protocol ceremonies will be kept to a minimum. What we had seen at the start of the season, before a small lull at the end of spring, then a return after the Tour de Suisse.

What is certain is that there will be an unprecedented winner. Because no former winner, starting with the Italian Elia Vivianiwinner last year, will not be at the start of this Grand Prix de Fourmies 2022.

A VELOPHOTO TO BRING THE TOUR TO FOURMIES

Fourmies Grand Prix 2022
Jacques Thibaux (left) and Michaël Hiraux (with vest) during the presentation (photo JMD/Sports 5962)

The mayor of Fourmies and president of the urban community Michaël Hiraux announced it during the presentation. The city of Fourmies is a candidate to host a stage of the Tour de France in the coming years. To support this candidacy in a popular way, the municipality is setting up a promotional operation in the village of the Company and the Terroir which will operate for two days on the green square, facing the finish line of the GPF.

This is a picture bike. All spectators present on September 11 in Fourmies will be able to have their photograph taken. The goal is to collect as many photos as possible which will be sent to Amaury Sports Organization (ASO), the promoter of the Tour. A way to prove the support of Ants (and others) around this application. A clever form of grassroots lobbying.

Fourmies is already investing heavily in the GPF. With a grant of 150,000 euros (plus logistical support), the city is the first institutional partner of the race ahead of the Hauts-de-France Region (39,000 euros), the Nord Department (35,000 euros) and the Community agglomeration (30,000 euros).

The winners of the last editions

  • 2010: Romain Feillu (France)
  • 2011: Guillaume Blot (France)
  • 2012: Lars Bak (Denmark)
  • 2013: Nacer Bouhanni (France)
  • 2014: Jonas Van Genechten (Belgium)
  • 2015: Fabio Felline (Italy)
  • 2016: Marcel Kittel (Germany)
  • 2017: Nacer Bouhanni (France)
  • 2018: Pascal Ackermann (Germany)
  • 2019: Pascal Ackermann (Germany)
  • 2020: canceled
  • 2021: Elia Viviani (Italy)

The program

3rd Choralis Fourmies Feminine Classic

  • Departure: 11:15 a.m.
  • Arrival: 2:30 p.m.

89th Fourmies Grand Prix

  • 11:15 a.m.: signature of the runners
  • 12 p.m.: gathering of runners on the take-off line
  • 12:05 p.m.: opening of the road
  • 12:15 p.m.: departure in procession
  • 4:50 p.m.: arrival

WOMEN TOO

Briton Georgi Pfeiffer (DSM Ladies team) won last year at Fourmies (photo JMD/SPORTS 5962)

As a prologue to the 89th Grand Prix de Fourmies, the 3rd Choralis Fourmies Féminine Classic will take place. The race counts for the French Women’s Cup. This will be the penultimate event before Isbergues. It will bring together 27 teams, including 15 professionals. This is the case of the Cofidis team, which will come with the regional runner Victory Berteau, whose grandparents live on the course, in Féron. Her Australian teammate Rachel Neylan is also a favorite.

Also to follow the Italian Silvia Zanardi (Bepink), 3rd last year; the Belgian Kim de Baat (Plantur Fura); the French Clara Copponi (FDJ Suez Futuroscope), Gladys Verhulst (The Wahoo Pass) and Marion Borras (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes team). Without forgetting the local runner Alison Oats (Saint-Michel 93), which will be keen to shine on its training routes.

The 2021 winner, Georgi Pfeiffer however, will be absent.


The article is in French

Tags: Grand Prix Fourmies presentation

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