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Groupama – FDJ wants to end 2023 with five leaders

Küng is aiming for gold at the World Cup, Démare’s 100th victory

By Matthew Singh

Stefan Kong (Groupama – FDJ) | Photo: Cor Vos

09.12.2022 | (rsn) – In new shirts The Equipe Groupama – FDJ captains are starting the 2023 season with big ambitions. David Gaudu and Thibaut Pinot want to shine in the big tours, at the Road World Championships in Glasgow, Stephane Kung aims for the rainbow jersey, Valentin Madouas dreams of winning one monument and sprinter Arnaud Demare wants to break the 100-victory mark.

Last season there was a slight change of guard within Marc Madiot’s team. With his fourth place in the Tour de France this year France’s David Godot has made it clear that he will be the man to enter the Grand Tour world rankings in the future. On the other hand, Pinot emphasized the tendency to ignore the overall standings and focus on the day-to-day successes. He finished third overall from 2014 itself already serving his compatriot in the Tour de France and has also gone looking for stages. The fourth is at Châtel les portes du Soleil and the third is at Mende The Pinot wasn’t actually missing muchTo add to his tally of three wins in the tour stage.

Next season, the 26-year-old Gaudo wants to go even higher in the Tour de France. “We managed to finish fourth this year, but our goal is higher: a podium. The climbing specialist, who has competed in the Tour five times – except for 2020, when he participated to finish the race prematurely – has been improving in the final classification year after year,” said the climbing specialist.

Pinot goes looking for (mountain) stages in the Giro

On the other hand, Pinot, who is six years his senior, has recently shown a downward trend, so he decided not to target the Grand Tour rankings. It should be the same in the next Tour of Italy, which he will race for the first time since 2018. “The Giro will be the most important race of my season, with a clear goal: I want to beat the best riders in the world on mountain stages,” declared Pinot, citing the Tour of Italy as the reason for his decision for the first time. The third of his career disputes opinion: “This Giro is probably the hardest of the three Grand Tours of the year, so it’s the one that works best for me.”

After favoring the Giro over the Tour in the 2022 season and doing so She won three stages and the points classificationDemare could return to the home game next year. “The 100-victory mark can be reached next year and I’m absolutely motivated to do everything in my power to achieve that goal,” said the 31-year-old, who has racked up 91 victories since successfully defending his Paris Tours title in the fall.

Démare is already one of the greats in cycling, but his ambitions go much further than that. He noted that “in the history of French cycling, only Hinault, Jalabert and Anquetil have reached this mark, but unlike these three champions, it has done so with the jersey of one team: Groupama – FDJ”.

With Madouas or Küng for the first victory over a monument?

In contrast, the 26-year-old Madawas has only five successes as a professional, but he had three of them last season, where he was also more spectacular. Third place in the Tour of Flanders and seventh at E3 Classic. “We have a clear goal with the team for the great classics, which is to win,” said the Frenchman, who has been leading the Groupama – FDJ team since 2018. “In 2022 we were so close to winning, we got a lot of podiums. Now, of course, the desire to win an even bigger monument. Personally, I hope to be as efficient as it was in 2022 and to keep going and winning more often.”

However, the first supplier of results in the classics was his teammate Stefan Kung. The Swiss have had an impressive run this spring, finishing third at Paris-Roubaix and the E3 Classic, fifth at the Tour of Flanders, sixth at the Dwars Door Vlaanderen, and eighth at the Amstel Gold Race. It wasn’t enough for the 1.93m athlete from Torgau to win a big match.

However, Küng’s big goal in his ninth professional season is a different one: the upcoming World Cup experience in Glasgow on August 11. “The whole team is involved and committed to achieving the Holy Grail across the board by all means: the rainbow jersey,” said the 29-year-old, who started with the Swiss national team in the fall. World Mixed Relay Gold Championship in Wollongong, but then, as the favorite in the individual time trial, he was surprisingly beaten by Norway’s Tobias Foss by three full seconds.