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Five Fast — OK, Last — Things with Groupama FDJ

81st Paris - Nice 2023 - Stage 2

I guess it’s finally time to bring this preview mini-series to a close. Maybe I will run one last kit poll comparing all of the poll winners — a sort of cup-winners’ cup, if you will, of cycling fashion. Look for that early next week.

Anyway, since France is still the beating heart of the sport (sorry Belgium), let’s close out with that country’s most dynamic and exciting team, Groupama FDJ. I still think of them as just FDJ, or La Française des Jeux (“French games,” a/k/a the lottery), because I am increasingly old and stubborn. But not quite irrelevant! No, I will not be including La Vie Claire in any future previews. Anyway GFDJ are pretty exciting these days, and the alternative is a team that just switched to jean shorts, so let’s plow ahead here.

Glasses Guy!
Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

1. Is He Him?

You can tell that I read the internet sometimes with my hipster phrasing of the idea that a person might be important to the other people in his subculture. Not sure why we are more interested in who is Him, rather than who might be Her. Is it because women are less interested in that nonsense, or that we’ve all just agreed it’s Marianne Vos? Regardless, the question before us is whether David Gaudu could be, you know, Him.

The answer is hahaha, no, of course not, because Him is actually a religious reference and even a really great Frenchman won’t generate that level of cycling fan or other worship. [If a Frenchman were Him, you can bet that everyone would love the Vice-Him much more.] Also there is no way Gaudu is the next Tadej Pogačar, since he’s three years older, and he wasn’t even the previous Tadej Pogačar. But — not to overreact to one day’s results in March — it is clear that he is a vastly superior climber to defending Tour de France champion Jonas Vingegaard and is going to give Pogs a serious fright in this summer’s Grand Boucle. [Hey, this is a sport where people ask if Mathieu van der Poel can win the Tour de France, OK?]



What? Well, if you want to take a broader, more responsible approach to analyzing Gaudu, you could note that he has made steady progression as a stage racer, all the way to his…

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