She will be Team Arkéa’s road captain on the Tour de France roads from Sunday. At 25, the Ardéchoise Greta Richioud was selected by the Breton structure to bring her experience and ensure the good behavior of the group throughout the eight days of competition. A reward for a discreet athlete, who has often worked in the shadows and who has recently prepared herself by doing an internship at altitude, far from competition. DirectVelo took stock with the former European Junior Champion on the road before the big start from the Eiffel Tower.
DirectVelo: How did you experience the announcement of your selection for the Tour de France?
Greta Richioud: I was hoping to be there because I showed in the stage races that I could be present. I had targeted a race in Germany (the Tour of Thuringia, Editor’s note) and I managed to perform there, as I hoped (7th stage and 15th overall, editor’s note). At Mont Ventoux too, I managed to accompany the team leaders, Morgane (Coston) and Yuliia (Biriukova), for a good time and to do the job well for them. The only downside was the French Championship which I missed out on. But I also have the experience of two participations in the Giro d’Italia and I have done many other big races on the calendar. This Tour de France, I prepared thoroughly. But I wasn’t sure of anything. After all, there were only six places so I was still in doubt, especially since we quickly learned that the places of Anaïs (Morichon), Yuliia (Biriukova) and Morgane (Coston ) were assured. It was only three places. So there was some doubt. It’s a great relief, even if I also have a thought for the girls who stayed on the side of the road because it’s really not easy. We knew from the beginning that it was going to be a big disappointment for some of us.
“GOOD RACING SENSE”
According to the words of your sporting director Franck Renimel, you will have a role of road captain within this workforce (read here)…
It’s a role that I like and that is close to my heart. I’ve been racing internationally for eight years now, know pretty much every girl and know how most teams race. I think I have good racing sense. But far be it from me to say that I know what will happen on the different stages (smile). I just think that this experience can help and that it tipped in the balance.
The team was not present on the Giro d’Italia and you were not on the trip on the Baloise Tour, in Belgium, last week. So you haven’t raced since the French Championship at the end of June. Is this a problem when approaching this Tour de France?
I do not know. It’s true that in general, the more I run, the better off I am. And there, I haven’t run for a month. We’ll see, but I think I’ve prepared properly so I should be fine. The fact that the team was not in the Giro is a little disappointing because it looked like a great race this year and it would also have allowed the girls who are not in the Tour to be able to do another great race in July. But I adapted. Belgium, I preferred not to go there, anyway… I spent thirteen days training with Morgane (Coston), in Tignes, to prepare for the Tour de France and I am not unhappy with my preparation. We met a lot of people there: Laura Asencio, the girls from the Plantur, eight men from the Jumbo… It must be a good plan to prepare (laughs).
“I WILL NEED TO HAVE THE GREEN LIGHT”
What does this participation in the Tour mean to you?
It’s exceptional to be able to take the start. It’s a mythical race, like the Giro. I have known complicated moments for several years. In 2020, it was hard with the Covid. I went to a Norwegian team (Hitec Products, editor’s note) and it didn’t go very well. We couldn’t run, we didn’t have bikes, there were no more competitions (fourteen days of competitions in 2020, Ed)… I then joined the Arkéa team but I didn’t know how to stand out in the first year. Maybe it was time to re-adjust. This year, I feel better in the team. I get along very well with those who arrived and my result in Germany did me good.
In addition to your role of protecting the leaders and road captain, do you still hope to have some freedom in the race?
I don’t know at all what the instructions will be, even if Anaïs (Morichon) and especially Morgane (Coston) will be protected. Once I have done this work of protection and support, if I have an opportunity I will try to go. I will have to have the green light but if I am given the opportunity, of course, I will not say no. I’m convinced that all the girls who take the start hope to be able to show up at least once and will want to play for a stage victory.