Victoire Berteau has seized the title in a sweltering edition of the French women’s road championship. The Cofidis cyclist demonstrated her strength in a route spanning just under one hundred kilometres. She made her move thirty kilometres from the finish and later won the uphill sprint in Cassel, outpacing her three breakaway companions. The whole race was an attacking battle that was fully worthy of the live coverage it had. The race remained on a knife edge until the very final metres.
After a gruelling race, in which many cyclists had already fallen behind, Coralie Demay of St Michel-Mavic-Auber 93, Jade Wiel of FDJ-Suez, and Victoire Berteau of Cofidis broke away from the leading group about thirty kilometres from the finish line. The trio extended their lead to a maximum of one minute, maintaining it for a considerable duration.
The pursuing group, which included defending champion Audrey Cordon-Ragot of Human Powered Health, gradually reduced the gap but never caught up with the three leaders. Only Marie Le Net of FDJ-Suez managed to bridge the gap and join her teammate ahead. The quartet then had the opportunity to compete in a sprint to determine the recipients of the medals.
In the final climb, Berteau outlasted the FDJ-Suez duo. She managed to outpace her two closest rivals in the uphill sprint. Marie Le Net claimed the silver medal, while former champion Jade Wiel came third. In a nice quirk, this year’s Elite podium matches the U17s podium from 2016.
The 22-year-old Berteau achieved her first road victory and earns the right to don the national jersey for a year. It was also Cofidis’ first-ever victory in the road race, including around 30 years of racing by the men’s team. Berteau, therefore, has broken new ground.
2023 French National Road Race Championship result
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