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Florent Brard (born 7 February 1976, Chambray-lès-Tours, France[1][2]) is a retired French road bicycle racer. He won three national championships, including the professional road race. He became a professional in 1999[3] and stopped racing in November 2009 after not finding a place in a team.[4]

Florent Brard
Florent Brard 2008.jpg
Brard in 2008
Personal information
Full name Florent Brard
Born (1976-02-07) 7 February 1976 (age 41)
Chambray-lès-Tours, France
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 74 kg (163 lb)
Team information
Current team Retired
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Professional team(s)
1998 Mattei
1999–2001 Festina–Lotus
2002 Crédit Agricole
2003–2004 Vlaanderen–T Interim
2005 Agritubel–Loudun
2006–2007 Caisse d'Epargne–Illes Balears
2008–2009 Cofidis
Major wins
French National Road Race Champion (2006)

Contents

ChildhoodEdit

Florent Brard was born into a cycling family. His father bought two copies of cycling magazines, one to read and the other to save, untouched.[5]

Early careerEdit

Florent Brard raced as an amateur as a member of the Cercle Paul-Bert in the Tours region of France. He won the national youth pursuit championship in 1992 and 1993 and the junior pursuit in 1994.[6] He tried professional racing as a stagiaire, or apprentice, with the Française des Jeux team in 1997, riding at the Élite 2 level. From there he moved next year as a full professional to Festina.

Professional careerEdit

Brard showed from his youth that he had talent for long, lone efforts and for riding a large gear for long periods.[7] He said: "I've ridden a lot on the track during the course of my career. The pursuit is an excellent school for progressing on the road. So I'm a fairly good rouleur[8] and that's therefore the talent that I try to exploit to make an impression." [9] That brought him his first win as a professional, the last stage of the Étoile de Bessèges on 11 February 2001. He won alone after being in a breakaway group close to being caught by the main field after 120 km. He said: "It would have been just too stupid to miss the chance a kilometre from the finish. My legs hurt, I was cooked, but I gritted my teeth and threw my last force into the battle." [10] He won the national time-trial championship later the same year and he won a stage in and led the Tour de l'Avenir. He also won Paris–Bourges and GP-Cholet-Pays de la Loire.[11]

He moved to Crédit Agricole for 2002, earning 30,500 euros a season but he was fired after starting the season poorly, then missing the middle following a fall which broke vertebrae[12] finally being caught in a drugs test [See below.]. Only the small Marlux team in Belgium offered him a place for 2003.[13] He said: "When I signed for them I wasn't at all happy because, when you come from big teams like Festina and Crédit d'Agricole, which have a prominent image, it's strange, I had the impression of going backwards in my career. I went there on tiptoe, not knowing what I was going to find, and then I felt fine." [14]

In 2004, he stayed in Belgium with the Chocolade Jacques, team. He had tried to ride again with French teams "but their sponsor didn't want a doped rider."[See below.][15] He won the final stage of the Giro di Lucca and the second stage of Paris–Corrèze

In 2005, with Agritubel, he won Paris–Troyes, the Trophée Luc Leblanc and a stage at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

In 2006, he moved to Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears, with whom he rode the Tour de France after winning the national road championship at Chantonnay a week before the start. He said: "When you've been down at the bottom [See below] you appreciate the heights even more." [16] He spent the rest of the year racing and training in his blue, white and red jersey.[17] "You only have it until the following June," he said, so he wore it when he could.

He did not finish the Tour de France, falling during the penultimate stage.

DopingEdit

Florent Brard was prescribed corticoid to recover from a crash in the Grand Prix du Midi Libre. He said he had seen his doctor "n times" (pour la énième fois) and neither he nor the doctor thought of him as a racing cyclist, "only as a man broken everywhere who couldn't do anything because of all his sleepless nights." [18] and was caught in a dope test in the Tour de l'Ain, which he finished an hour behind the winner.[19] He was suspended for nine months by the Fédération Française de Cyclisme. His sponsor, Crédit Agricole, fired him. He said:

I think it's fair to say that that long period allowed me to change the way I looked at life. Until then, for me, the professionals were gods. Now, when I see a sportsman, I see the man. The status of champion isn't enough. A champion can be a good guy as much as a bad one.

He rode then for Belgian teams because, he said, Roger Legeay, his former boss at Crédit Agricole, was president of AC2000.[20] "He knew that I was in touch with Agritubel; he said to a meeting of AC2000, 'If a French team takes on a former dope-taker, we'll throw it out of the association.'"[21]

Personal lifeEdit

Brard is married to Nathalie, with whom he has two daughters. In 2006 they moved to Serres-Castet, near the Pyrenees, to profit from better weather for training than in the Loire valley around Tours and to improve his riding in the mountains.[22]

Major resultsEdit

2001
  France time trial champion (in Argenton-sur-Creuse)
Paris–Bourges
GP Cholet
EnBW GP (with Cristophe Moreau)
Joseph Voegeli Memorial (with Christophe Moreau)
Étoile de Bessèges - 1 stage
Tour de France - 100th
5th, prologue
  Youth Classification leader (Prologue-stage 1, stage 3-4)
2004
Paris–Corrèze - 1 stage (2004)
Giro della Provincia di Lucca - 1 stage (2004)
2005
Trophée Luc Leblanc
Paris–Troyes
Circuit Cycliste de la Sarthe - 1 stage
Paris–Roubaix - 7th
2006
  France road champion (in Chantonnay)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ L'Équipe, France, 13 July 2007
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  3. ^ Vélo, France, March 2001
  4. ^ L'Équipe, 29 November 2009
  5. ^ Vélo, France, February 2007
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2009-11-30. 
  7. ^ Vélo, France, March 2001
  8. ^ A rider who can ride at speed for prolonged periods.
  9. ^ Vélo, France, March 2001
  10. ^ Vélo, France, March 2001
  11. ^ L'Équipe, France, 13 July 2001
  12. ^ Vélo, France, November 2003, p45
  13. ^ Vélo, France, November 2003
  14. ^ Vélo, France, November 2003, p14
  15. ^ Vélo, France, November 2003, p44
  16. ^ Vélo, France, July 2006
  17. ^ Vélo, France, February 2007
  18. ^ Vélo, France, November 2003, p45
  19. ^ Vélo, France, July 2006
  20. ^ AC2000 is a grouping of French cycling teams making a stand against drug-taking in the sport. A condition of membership was not to employ riders or staff implicated in doping.
  21. ^ Vélo, France, February 2007
  22. ^ Vélo, France, February 2007