Who’s John Gadret?

Ag2r La Mondiale’s climber is having a very good Giro, confirming the attacking ability he showed in the Tour de Romandie. He’s some background on him…

He’s 31 and was born in the French town of Epernay, one of the towns more famous for Champagne production. Today he lives in close to the Belgian border, just outside Valenciennes, a grimy town that has seen better days as its local industry gradually dries up.

Originally a cyclo-cross rider, he has few wins to his name in the pro ranks, perhaps his best win is the hilly Swiss one day race, the GP Kanton Aargau. He’s kept up the off-road riding, finishing eighth in the 2007 cyclocross World Championships.

But he’s made a name for himself before in the Giro d’Italia, where he finished seventh, sixth and fifth in three of the mountain stages back in 2006, behind several riders who have since been rumbled by the anti-doping police, points out his manager Vincent Lavenu. Gadret himself says his power-weight ratio is more suited to Italy than France, given the steeper climbs on the other side of the Alps. In line with this, he’s finished twice in the top-10 of the Flèche Wallonne.

More recently Gadret said in an interview that he’s been disappointed by recent years, he’s struggled with a knee injury which ultimately led to an operation in 2009 season, giving him une année noire, a season to forget. He said he was up for the Giro, knowing his past results and that he might be given more freedom than other riders.

Plus he’s been facing an extra motivation this year, his contract is up and without results, the chances of renewal were slim. Today he looks set for a fair contract.

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