France did just have their national trials championship, which are by many regarded as one of the hardest and most prestigious races to win in trials, especially in the men’s 26″ elite category. With the 2019 champion, Nicolas Vallée, not able to attend due to a broken ankle, it was exciting to see how the race panned out!
> Big photo gallery and interviews with the winners further down the article.
Basseville best, again!
Manon Basseville (22) won the women’s category, ahead of Chloé Jourdan (20) and Emma Louineau (17). Manon scored 260 points, Chloé 200 and Emma 190. Manon has now won the French Championship six years in a row, and her domination and progress doesn’t seem to stop anytime soon!
Grillon with the win in 20″
France is definitely most known for their 26″ riders, and the big wheels are by far the most popular among French riders. That’s also something you see in the men’s elite 20″, where only two riders participated. Nonetheless, Louis Grillon (21) rode brilliantly, and with the current format, where both wheel categories ride the same race, only separating them in the final results, Louise managed to get in the final among five other 26″ riders, beating riders such as Alexis Brunetaud and Théo Poudret. Louis won men elite 20″ ahead of fellow 20″ rider Arnaud Janin (20).
Though Grillon gets his 50 UCI points for winning elite men 20″, the French cycling federation is only giving out championship jerseys to one woman and one man, which in this case will be Manon Basseville and Noah Cardona.
French champion for the first time
Then to one of the most prestigous national titles to win in trials, the men’s elite 26″ category at the French Championship. With Nicolas Vallée injured, it was a lot of excitement associated to the result. The old boys league, with Vincent Hermance (36) and Gilles Coustellier (34), versus the young boys Clement Meot (26), Nathan Charra (20) and Noah Cardona (21), who was going to win?
Vincent Hermance won the semi final, and he’s been riding great lately. The 36 year old seems to never slow down, progressing year after year. Remember that he got his first elite world championship title in 2007!!! Gilles Coustellier also showed superb form, but there was nothing that could stop Noah Cardona. The 21 year old grabbed his first national elite championship title, scoring 270 points, 20 points ahead of Hermance. Gilles got third, with 230 points. Behind them followed Nathan Charra (200 points) and Clement Meot (100 points).
We asked the winners some questions, and here are the answers. First up is Manon:
- How did it feel to compete again?
I already competed at the beginning of July in Poland and Slovakia, but competing for a big goal and for a jersey as this weekend, is totally different. Full pressure, as we love. Moreover, the races are always organized amazingly in Les Menuires, with great sections. It’s so good to ride on beautiful obstacles.
- Have you managed to stay motivated over the last months?
To be honest, after they cancelled the world cups, it has been really hard. Sometimes I would like to go to the beach, and not to the training, but I continue to train because there are more competitions in France, we’re lucky. The hardest thing is about the intensity I put into my traning, it’s easier to put all our energy when we have goals and cool comps ahead of us.
- How does it feel to fight for another French Championship title? How many titles do you have now?
It’s always a lot of pressure to put the French jersey back on the line! Normally I’m the favorite, but I know mistakes can happen really fast in trials,so anything can happen! This is my sixth French title!
And then we hear from Noah:
- How does it feel to become French Champion?
Becoming French elite champion was one of my childhood dreams. But, it seemed impossible to me, because the level in France is unbelievable. But, now this dream has come true. I’m very happy with my riding in the final. The battle with Vincent was quite close, but I made the difference in the second section. I didn’t take any risks on the following sections, and that paid off.
- How has your training been heading towards this race?
This year I’ve changed a lot of things in my training. I chose to focus my training mainly on the physical component. I did a lot of road cycling, a lot of specific sessions on the trials bike (interval training for example), and I think that was what I was missing to get better results in competitions. I like power training a lot, but I don’t do a lot of it anymore (only for Insta, haha!). I spend more time to work on the techniques, step by step on smaller obstacles. I believe that with the new race format, it’s more important to know how to reproduce a medium sized movement several times, rather than a huge move once.
- What’s next?
For this year, my next goal is to win the last round of the French Cup with my new jersey! For the future years, I would like to continue my progress and finally be able to fight for a victory at the world cups and the world championships.