Damien Monier should never have won today’s stage of the Giro. It was Tristan Valentin’s late withdrawal that saw Monier was drafted in with just three days to go. No matter, Monier said after the stage that he was feeling strong for the third week.
Twice a pursuit champion of France, Monier is from Clermont-Ferrand, the city in central France that is dominated by several extinct volcanoes and the active Michelin factory. He is trained by Cofidis’s full time coach Vincent Villerius, a Dutch sports scientist who seems adept at giving Cofidis riders the courage to attack and win.
It means two French victories so far in the Giro and both Pineau and Monier are known for their clean riding. You have to go back to 1999 to find the last time this happened, thanks to Laurent Jalabert and Richard Virenque. A very different era.