Interview – Noémie Abgrall

Interview – Noémie Abgrall

Noémie, three days after your podium at the last French championships, do you realise the performance you managed to achieve by being a breakaway all race and winning this medal at the end?

Yes, I’m just beginning to realise. I received a hundred messages, it’s weird, and I re-watched the race a bit and I said to myself that I was very lucky because there were times when the peloton was less ten seconds and he didn’t come back, I still can’t believe it. But hey, we brought it back and it’s exceptional for the team, we’re all really happy to bring back this medal and we would have signed well before the start for this podium knowing that we had withdrawals and that we lost girls on the way, it was complicated and to bring back this medal even for the girls who were not there, I think it’s a reward.

When you cross the line how do you feel? Do you say to yourself I’m third where there’s a moment of uncertainty?

In fact, when I start the bike, I turn my head and I think I’m going ahead but you’re never sure, the line remains wide and you never know where the photo finish is. At the time, I said to myself it’s good I have it and after more, I advanced, I had a doubt, I knew that it was played a few centimetres but I did not really know. And then everyone around me was happy but I was there, I’m doing three, I’m doing four, and then they told me I was doing three, it was a relief. I’m still doing a good sprint knowing that I don’t really usually sprint, I’ve been looking for it far and even for the girls behind that I can sprint like that, I don’t think they really believed it. To take third place, it was still a little unheard of.

We saw you on the podium a little moved and with a lot of pride. You had the girls right in front of you on the podium. It was still something.

Yes, the girls were in front of me, moreover, I saw them going up on the podium. During the Marseillaise, I looked away from them because I said to myself, I’m going to cry if I look at them. And we all went to celebrate together, after the podium and frankly, it’s the best reward.

And now, we saw you achieving many top 20s in Spain, where you had participated in many peloton sprints, so we saw that you had a small burst of speed, so how do you see the rest of the season? , knowing that there were great collective and individual performances?

Now the target is the turn, eyes are on it. We will try to prepare for this as well as possible, I have the form but now we have to keep it. There are still three weeks left, it will be long, anything can happen, with the COVID you never know, but in any case we have great things to do on this tour and I really hope that we will succeed in showing the shirt as it should be.

In view of the efforts you made throughout the race, the girls of the other teams may no longer have the same view of you and may no longer let you go like in the French championships. By starting at the same time as the favourites, there was perhaps a better chance of playing for the title?

Yes, already when I started ahead in France, I said to myself that’s it, I’ve blown my chances of a podium, it’s over. There was my family on the side, I was looking at them and I was like too bad and even the sporting director came up to me, and said, it’s okay anyway we’ll show the jersey and I knew that there was Maeva, Séverine, India and all the others behind. So I said to myself, it’s okay, I’m going to show the shirt and the others will manage to secure behind. But in any case, I think the peloton played with me a lot anyway and then I knew it, it was the game but I really thought I was going to do nothing, clearly, I let go ten kilometres from the finish, I’m coming back because you can see it, frankly I had a good bit of luck and I think it’s rewarding the breakaways for once, for all the breakaways I’ve done, I tell myself that this one I still deserve it, I went to get it and for the team it was great. Afterwards, for the next races, I don’t think I will be watched more than that, it’s only a third place, I don’t have the jersey on my shoulders so I think they’ll let me go again, they know my breakaways a little suicidal so they know very well, especially at the world tour level, that they will manage to come and get me.

Photo credits : Aymeric Lassak – Maximillien Venisse – Directvélo