It’s no coincidence that in cycling these one day races that come back every year are called classics. They slip into the calendar at the same time as they embrace a territory. They can be seen as an unstoppable statue that stands in the center of the village square. Thus, shows through this feeling that we have always lived with and that the future cannot be written without them.

Except that the year 2020, its health crisis and its economic consequences, shattered many certainties. This damn pandemic has gone so far as to make us revisit our classics by upsetting our most established convictions. And last year, when Paris-Gien-Bourges was canceled, we understood how much we missed her.

So how can we not come to the ears with a smile on Gien’s victory this Thursday morning. These same ears who will find their Madeleine de Proust at 11:15 am when Daniel Mangeas will spell out one by one the names and palmares of the riders lined up for this 70th Paris-Gien-Bourges.

It is also not impossible that this sequence is a bit longer than the previous years. Not that the former speaker of the Tour has badly adjusted his score â ???? he masters the exercise at his fingertips. But the pedigree of the participants weighs, this year, heavier than during the pre-pandemic editions.

It’s also difficult to know where and who to start. Perhaps by Arnaud DÃ © mare, his three titles of champion of France, his four stages on the Giro, his two successes on the Tour de France and his victory at Milan-San Remoâ ????? Or by Jasper Stuyven, winner of this same race in March under the nose and beard of Van Aert, Van der Poel and other Alaphilippeâ ?????

When a cyclist is in the recovery phase, he tends to do things smoothly. Small plate, large pinion, the legs twist and shape returns. TO?? Conversely, it is on a large plateau and with a hell of a gear that the only professional race arriving in the department marks its return to the cycling calendar, always on the initiative of Union Bourges Dear Cyclisme and its president, Laurent Planchon. If the Berry rider Marc Sarreau, title holder after his victorious sprint two years ago, is absent due to an injury, there will be many contenders for his succession. And like every year, it is in the sprinter category that they should be looked for.

This race almost always happens in a sprint, there is an eight out of ten chances for it to happen that way. The difficulties are centered on Sancerre. After the bumps it’s long enough to get to the finish line, which favors the sprint scenario.

“This race almost always happens in a sprint, we have eight chances out of ten for it to happen this way,” explains Franck Pineau, sporting director of the Groupama-FDJ team who knows perfectly well places since he was born in Bourges. The difficulties are centered on Sancerre. After the bumps it’s long enough to get to the finish line, which favors the sprint scenario. TO”

Indeed, rare are the editions which did not know a massive arrival. And even in 2018, when the young Valentin Madouas was imposed after a daring offensive, he had beaten, boulevard de la RÃ © publique, the sprinters Bryan Coquard and Christophe Laporte which came back at him like bombs. Two boys who will also be leaving this Thursday morning. And they also missed the classic.