Saturday, 4 February 2023

Cycling News

‘Another roller coaster I need to survive’ – Audrey Cordon-Ragot on th – Rouleur

Cordon-Ragot at the start of the Tour de France Femmes 2022

Whoever is writing the tale of Audrey Cordon-Ragot’s life must be a fan of pathetic fallacy. When she pops up on my screen for our video call, the Frenchwoman says she’s tired after spending yet another day cycling in the rain in a grey and wintery Brittany. “I got back from Spain three weeks ago, and everyday since then I’ve been training in the rain,” she says.

The dark storm clouds that have been following Cordon-Ragot as she tries to prepare for the season ahead are an apt representation of her last few months. It’s almost unfathomable to think that after one of the best years of her career – which saw her win the French national title in both the road race and individual time trial and the Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden Women’s WorldTour race – the 33-year-old has spent the off-season in a state of uncertainty about her future.

If you haven’t heard about the drama surrounding Team B&B Hotels, you’ve done well to not spend too much time on social media and avoid most of the cycling media press. It’s a complicated saga and one that Cordon-Ragot describes as “a roller coaster of emotions”. The Frenchwoman went from being an integral part of trying to bring the Team B&B Hotels women’s team to fruition, to being let down by bad communication and poor management (like all of the male and female riders involved in the project were) and was left scrambling to find a new contract in December when it was announced the team was folding.

“The hardest thing for me was not my situation, because I knew in the end, I would find something because I’m lucky, I am the national champion and I think it helps a lot. The hardest part was to see my teammates and the staff that I was bringing with me to this team lose their jobs. This is the most annoying thing for me and at the moment I do feel really guilty. Before that will go away, I need some time but even I think at the end of the story I will always feel guilty about this.”

Cordon-Ragot explains that her husband, who has worked as a mechanic for B&B Hotels for the last four years, also forms an integral part of her story with the now defunct team. “We were at home just talking about this everyday, all the time,” she says. “I saw that my husband wasn’t sleeping during the entire night and he still doesn’t have a job at the moment. It’s still a bit hard right now. But it’s another roller coaster that I need to survive.”

Cordon-Ragot at the start of the Tour de…

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