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"Today I managed my effort. I didn't go out too fast and then I accelerated without fading. However, I did not take excessive risks in the corners. Being a dad makes you a bit more cautious. I'm glad to take...

Photo: Vincent Calu/Photonews

CLASSIC BRUGGE-DE PANNE

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DAVID BOUCHER

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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04.04.2014 @ 11:52 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Known as the loyal domestique, David Boucher got a chance to ride for himself in yesterday's Driedaagse van De Panne time trial. The Frenchman surprised most by producing an excellent ride to finish 3rd against some high-level competition.

 

It was the day of the domestiques in yesterday's Driedaagse van De Panne time trial. The stage was won by Maciej Bodnar who usually sacrifices himself completely for Peter Sagan, and in third place it was another loyal helper who got his chance to shine.

 

David Boucher is one of the riders who spends seemingly endless hours on the front of the peloton to chase down breakaways for his sprinters Arnaud Demare and Nacer Bouhanni. Unlike Bodnar who is a multiple national time trial champion and has been in the top 5 of the De Panne time trial earlier in his career, Boucher has rarely been amongst the best in the individual discipline but yesterday he produced the ride of his life.

 

While the team was mostly focused on Johan Le Bon and so were saddened when the Frenchman was knocked out of the hot seat by Kristijan Koren, Boucher made up for the disappointment. A few moments later, he powered across the line to stop the clock in a time that allowed him to take the lead.

 

In the end, he was beaten into third by Bodnar and Jan Barta but his performance allowed him to take one of the best results of his career.

 

"For me, this is not really a surprise," manager Marc Madiot said. "David has really worked hard on his time trial. He has always done well in this discipline. He knows how to ride fast, he rides reall well and is in great condition."

 

"It was only the second time I used my new time trial bike," Boucher said. "And I know this course in De Panne well.  I have worked well in recent weeks, I have a good thythm. 

 

"Today I managed my effort. I didn't go out too fast and then I accelerated without fading. However, I did not take excessive risks in the corners. Being a dad makes you a bit more cautious. I'm glad to take third against such great riders."

 

Earlier in the day, FDJ had tried to split things in the crosswinds in the morning half-stage but their action had raised a few eyebrows. With Arnaud Demare out of the race, the team had no sprinter for the finish, and Boucher admitted that it had been a strange move.

 

"It's a little crazy," he said. "We just did it by automatically but it led to nothing. Having accelerated, we looked around and remembered that Arnaud Démare was not there and that it was useless to continue. It made ​​us smile."

 

After the De Panne race, the team is now fully focused on the Tour of Flanders where they will ride in support of Arnaud Demare, Johan Le Bon, Yoann Offredo and Matthieu Ladagnous.

 

"Two hours of riding on Friday and two hours onSaturday, "Madiot said. "Otherwise, it is all about rest and recovery."

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