KTM VITTORIA TEAM
French National Championships XCM – 2022
Just two weeks before the French XCO championships in Bretagne and in the heart of a season punctuated by the XCO World Cups, Léna Gérault went to the first stage of the Alps Epic serving as support for the French championships of XC Marathon for an anthology race.
RDV in the Hautes-Alpes, at Monêtier-les-Bains, for a beautiful and long day of riding. Nearly 90 km and 3000 m of elevation gain await the pilots. Being at home since she was born in Briançon, Léna knows the track well. And already wearing this tricolor jersey for 3 years, she also masters this type of long effort very well. Assets that she knew how to use to her advantage to achieve the perfect race.
8:30 a.m., 1400m altitude, the weather is already good on the starting line. The atmosphere is rather relaxed, even if everyone knows that they will give their all. “I like the atmosphere of Marathon starts, we’re not all on our rollers like in XCO, we can take the time to chat, it’s fun, it feels good! says Lena.
The start was made at a steady pace, in mass-start mode, women and men, all together. On these long efforts, it is important to know how to manage the effort and to smooth it out, but for Léna it is decisive to put herself in race mode from the start, so she follows the imposed pace. After several kilometres, she lets herself be untied to keep the train. Pauline Ferrand-Prévot then takes the lead among women.
The profile of the race is rising from the start, Léna does not really know this first part towards Lautaret and the Col de Buffère at an altitude of more than 2400m, unlike the Col du Granon (also 2400m) which she masters perfectly , which is why she does not panic and waits her turn. The singles are superb, real MTB, brittle, narrow, winding, rocky, technical. Little by little, despite the altitude, the heat is felt.
It was precisely at this moment in the Col du Granon, the second big ascent of the day, exposed to full sun around noon, that Léna picked up Pauline and overtook her. Now she knows she is in the lead so we have to manage the remaining 20 kilometers. Do not take any risks but above all take advantage of the fabulous descent of the Granon which she knows very well to widen the gap. Once this is over, it remains for Lena to control the advance on the last hilly part. It is then with mastery that she comes to impose herself in front of her public after 5h40 of effort on a demanding and magnificent course.
Léna then celebrated her 4th consecutive coronation in the XC-Marathon format, ahead of Pauline Ferrand-Prévot and Estelle Morel
Photos : Ulysse Daessle – Media & PR – MET SpA
“Léna rode an incredible race which confirms her rise in power over the weeks. And this 4th tricolor jersey is magnificent for her and brings the first national title for the Team! Next steps: the French XCC and XCO championships.”
Jérôme Dericbourg – Team Manager
NEXT RDV on the French national championships XCC & XCO, Stay tuned !