Steve Chainel left Besançon with many gifts offered by his partners, including a blue-white-red bicycle and a pair of shoes. Acclaimed on the podium after the formal ceremony, he once again enjoyed a final walkabout around 5 p.m., on the Cross Team Legendre stand located close to the finish line. A little before, at the time of arrival, many competitors came to say a few words to him and left after a frank hug. “They are great guys, who know my background. I was fighting with them five or six years ago. Before, they wanted to fuck me and I didn’t want them to do it…”, is he laughing at the microphone of DirectBike.
This Sunday in Besançon, the former French Champion, 39, has finished his long career as a cyclist. “A big chapter of my life is coming to an end. It was a great story”. It could have ended a little earlier, on the occasion of the French Championship, if François Trarieux had not retained him among the list of French Elite riders entered in Franche-Comté. Steve Chainel had informed the national coach that he was ready to leave his place if the young competitors had more interest in being there than him. “I am one of those who focus on youth. Me, the cathedral is built. For kids, it might have been worth it for them to be there. I am an altruistic person. I didn’t steal my place but I could have given it without bitterness”.
“I STOPPED TWICE”
To his delight, he did get his ticket to Besançon. “I still wanted to end up here! It’s incredible to tell myself that my first selection for the France team, in the World Cup, was in 1999… And 24 years later, I’m still on a World Cup. Admittedly, I am no longer at the same level as a few years ago, but that, we suspected.
He hopes not to be tricked by Mathieu Van der Poel to clear a finish line one last time. A goal reached without too much difficulty (see ranking). “On the last lap, I stopped twice. There were the spectators who interpreted the ola. It was awesome. I wish that last lap was much longer. He continued to take advantage of it as soon as the line was passed. “There is my family, my friends… People are smiling”. The bib always on the back, you already have to follow. “A lot of things are going to happen. It was fun to be on the bike, now I will always be an actor but differently.. No one doubted it.