March Team of the Month – Française des Jeux

Fotoreporter Sirotti

Each month, Pavé editors and contributors engage in spirited debate about which team deserves the increasingly prestigious accolade of Team of the Month. Last month, we awarded Team of the Month to Rabobank after a strong performances in races such as the Tour Down Under and Tour of Oman. Their February featured diverse and dominant wins.

This month’s award will be given to Française des Jeux, but not for the same reasons that Rabobank won in February. In fact FDJ has had a hard time getting firm footing on the podiums of major races, but regardless, they have grabbed out attention during the races in March for being extremely aggressive and gutsy in their riding. To wit was Steve Chainel’s attack on the descent of the Cipressa during the closing stages of “la classica di Primavera”, Milan-San Remo, with Yoann Offredo at hand to follow the counter-attacks. Despite his skill and tenacity on the Cipressa descent, Chainel crashed heavily on the run-off of the Poggio. Offredo finished 7th, last in an elite group of attackers who had managed to separate themselves from the lead group over the Poggio. Chainel and Offredo’s performance meant that FDJ’s performance at Milan-San Remo was close yet far. Regardless of what could have been, it was an impressive team effort by two young up-and-comers.

The iconic French team has been fraught with disappointment in the month of March; with consistent second, third, fifth, sixth and pretty much every other placing apart from the top podium spot. Before this weekend’s Tour of Flanders, Offredo was forced to watch rather than start the race after a result of a crash after the finish line of Gent-Wevelgem after taking eleventh place in the sprint. This leaves the FDJ with a frustrating situation, but given the great determination shown by the team, they are deserving of March’s award.

Despite their “could have beens,” however, FDJ were leading the UCI Europe Tour standings early in the month, with 5 FDJ riders in the first 27 of the classification.  This is at least one feather in their so far unadorned cap, and if the team are consistent with their valiant style of racing they should add a few more feathers by the end of the season.

Stay tuned for March’s Rider of the Month later on this week. In the meantime, what teams impressed you with their teamwork this month?

This entry was posted in Featured, Teams and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to March Team of the Month – Française des Jeux

  1. Jason says:

    Though they haven't had much in the way of results this year (Evans win at TA the notable exception), I was really impressed with BMC massing at the front to reel in the break at RVV. No other team had that many guys left at that point in the race. It's too bad they weren't able to do better than BG's 6th place finish. Nevertheless, a strong showing, to be sure. Looking forward to seeing what they'll do at PR this weekend.

  2. Bo says:

    Gotta have some love for BMC. With Cadel taking Tirreno, Ballan right there in MSR and Strade Bianchi, and the team bringing it all back together in the Ronde (yeah, technically it was April, but still), there seems to be something building for the boys in red.

  3. Mattio says:

    I'll readily agree with you both – BMC impressed in March. Here at Pavé World Headquarters, we felt that BMC was finally riding as a team, and it showed with Hincapie, Ballan, van Avermaet all being in the mix in many races (most clearly resulting in Evans' TA win – good lord, did you see the way his boys set him up going into that final climb?). The difference, IMO, is that BMC's got a pretty stocked roster. FDJ's headliners are more below-the-radar types, real scrapers who are mixing it up at the front waiting for the win you *don't* expect from them, rather than the one you do.

    Any of you folks care to speculate on Rider of the Month?

  4. Bo says:

    Too many great performances to call if you ask me. You could make a solid argument for five or six guys. In terms of consistency, Ballan and Fabu were omnipresent in all the major races, but you could also give the nod to Cadel, Gilbert, or Nuyens. Such a great month of racing, I don't think I could choose.

  5. Adam says:

    BMC are great, but I like the pick of FDJ. They got downgraded this year and as a result are all riding for their lives.
    I know he hasn't won, and I know he was almost there last year, but Offredo has got to be this year's young revelation. I love it when a team can pick young talent. In any sport, picking expensive veterans is never as exciting as growing with youth – just look at how much better the NHL has been since the salary cap – and we all love it when Goss, Sagan, Michaels or any young previously unknown HTC rider takes the unexpected win.

  6. lwr says:

    ROTM: voeckler

  7. Matt says:

    ROTM: Nuyens.

    Seems pretty obvious, but he gets the added bonus of coming back from the "wildnerness" and turning this year into something after having two bad years. Cancellara is a close second for obvious reasons plus (a.) being the favorite and still doing well and (b.) grinta.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>