Despite only turning 20 next month, David Gaudu will have huge pressure from the off once he begins his pro career with FDJ in 2017. The French climber was the winner of both the Peace Race and Tour de l’Avenir (the first time since 2012 a home rider has won the race) and he was also fifth overall in the tough pro race Tour de l’Ain.
FDJ manager Marc Madiot says he has had an eye on the talented teenager since he was 16 and he has been supporting him throughout his junior career.
“I first heard of David when he won an Elite race aged only 16,” Madiot told Cyclingnews. “My brother Yvon followed him since the junior ranks. He joined our foundation that helps young cyclists to combine sport and studies. I personally met him at our training camp last December. In twenty years of working in this capacity, he’s one of a handful of riders I could tell at first sight he’s got something special. I saw him race here in Plumelec with the French national team in May. In the evening, I called Yvon and said we should sign him on the spot. He hurt the legs of riders who were going very well and told me they’d been put in pain by this youngster.”
Speaking at the U23 European Championships, Gaudu says it was destiny for him to join FDJ, especially after all the help they had given him in aiding his development.
“It was a natural move for me to join FDJ after being part of their development program,” the diminutive climber (1.73m, 54kg) from Landivisiau in Brittany to Cyclingnews. “But I don’t take turning pro as an achievement. It’s only the beginning.”
Madiot naturally likened Gaudu to his star climber Thibaut Pinot. However, he vows to help Gaudu write his own story in the recent book of young French successes.
“He reminds me of Thibaut Pinot a bit. But he’ll write his own history. Taking young riders to the highest level is what excites me the most in this job. Sometimes I strengthen my team with older riders but I’m not interested in opening a cheque book to recruit accomplished stars. Philippe Gilbert and Bradley McGee have given me my biggest satisfactions when they became world champion and Tour de France prologue winner.”
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