Figure skating: Bruno Massot, the battered course of a champion on ice

At the time of the European Championships, which begin this Wednesday, January 12 in Estonia, the French skaters are under no illusion: the podium hopes are almost non-existent in the absence of the star couple of ice dance Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who preferred to ignore the competition so as not to risk contamination with Covid-19 within a month of the Beijing Olympics.

→ ANALYSIS. Beijing Winter Olympics: athletes anticipate the Games under cover

This zero point on the medal table reflects the state of hexagonal skating under reconstruction. On the side of Normandy in particular, where, however, a beautiful story has been told in recent months: that of Bruno Massot, the native of the country who went to gild his reputation in Germany, Olympic champion under the Germanic flag in 2018 at the PyeongChang Games, back today in his club in Caen with a project in line with the desire for federal renovation. The realization of a dream, which took very devious ways to come true.

Olympic gold for Germany

First fork in 2014. Bruno Massot flies to Germany, to join the skater with whom he wants to relaunch, Aljona Savchenko. Leaving his long-standing club, the Caen sports and leisure artist (Acsel), was not the first idea. With his trainer Jean-François Ballester, Bruno Massot was thinking rather of bringing his future partner to France. Except that the French Ice Sports Federation is dragging its feet. On the contrary, his German counterpart offers the champion all the facilities to move. “The difference was huge, and I first thought about my career”, says the skater.

Bruno Massot settles across the Rhine. Jean-François Ballester, after twenty years of service in Caen, set out to found a high-level training center in Switzerland, while continuing to coach his foal. Four years later, the consecration. It was written ? Not really. “For eighteen months, the French Federation refused to release me, emphasizes Bruno Massot. I trained, but without the possibility of competing. I was living on € 200 per month. Obviously, it was not the ideal for skating serenely. When the situation was resolved, there were injuries, nothing was ever easy. So yes, the medal is beautiful, but what sacrifices! “

It does not appear on the 4 minutes and 30 minutes of the free development of the couple in PyeongChang. The tandem is weightless, succeeding in tricks and carried to perfection. At the time of the verdict of the judges, it is a torrent of tears. “I had enormous stress, I skated like a lion, with rage, Bruno Massot saw again. Twenty-three years of career that were played out there, in a few minutes. Afterwards, everything gave up. “

The return of the child prodigy

Bruno Massot finished in style, with a world title in stride. Time to put away the skates, to go train with Jean-François Ballester in Switzerland. But his mentor died six months later. “All my life, I never made a decision without his advice, loose the champion. I was lost, without landmarks. “ The Covid also complicates the situation. So with his wife, Bruno matures the idea of ​​returning home. At the turn of the year 2021, he called the president of Acsel in Caen.

→ ANALYSIS. French sports practice at half mast

“Bruno’s phone call presenting me his training center project was timely, indicates Ludovic Le Guennec. With the Covid, we had lost nearly 40% of our young people. We had to start from zero, on detection. Bruno was helping us to come out of a rather depressive period. “ It was still necessary to organize new occupancy slots for the ice rink, to obtain the support of local communities, of the federation. But this time, all the planets align. “I arrived in May 2021 on a red carpet, with a federation determined to rebuild by betting on new talents that I want to develop”, rejoices the gold medalist.

The center already has a dozen students. Bruno Massot is looking to recruit skaters and hopes to eventually have six couples. The structure must gain momentum, with a second training track that will have to be built by 2026, says the municipality. “In the meantime, we have to adapt and be patient, but we are on the right track”, assures the champion who already sees one of his young couples with astonishing progression skating in Milan in 2026. Bruno Massot believes in it. With determination. And also a lot of emotion: “I am in my ice rink, where it all began, and at the edge of the track in place of Jean-François Ballester who would have wanted so much to found a center here in Caen. It’s done. Let’s be up to it. “


Reduced numbers at the European Championships

In Tallinn, the blue delegation will consist of three pairs, a skater and a skater. But getting a podium would be a miracle. The last time the Blues posted a virgin record at the Euro, it was in 2014, the first continental competition of the ice dance tandem Gabriella Papadakis-Guillaume Cizeron. Since then, the duo has always held its place. The Blues will still count on the two champions at the Beijing Games to win a medal. They will be accompanied by the two skaters Adam Siao Him Fa and Kevin Aymoz, to complete the weakest French delegation in the history of the Games.



2022 Tour de France route: discover the map of the stages of the 109th edition

This time it’s the right one. Deprived of Tour in 2021 because of the Covid and the postponement of one year of the Euro with matches organized in its capital, Denmark finally welcomes the Grande Boucle for its 109e edition from 1er July 2022. And for the most northerly Grand Départ in its long history, the Tour de France is obviously not making the trip for nothing: three stages will be contested in the Scandinavian kingdom.

To liven up the affair from the outset, the organizers are counting on an individual entry time trial over 13 km in Copenhagen on 1er July, and on two stages in a row, the second of which is offered to the pranks of Aeolus, with 50 km along the coast and the crossing in the last pitches of the Great Belt Strait on the third longest bridge in the world, of 6.7 km.

The cobblestones of the North and the vertigo of the peaks in the Alps

Guaranteeing a show from the first week is always the major concern of the organizers, who promise a rapid resumption of hostilities after a day of rest on Monday July 4, time to repatriate the great cycling circus in France, and more exactly in the North. A few cobblestones on the menu to spice up the sauce, and quickly head to the Planche des Belles-Filles on Friday July 8, the queen of the Vosges becoming a must-see on the Tour for a sixth visit since 2010.

After a short trip to Switzerland, passing through Aigle, where the headquarters of the International Cycling Union (UCI) is located, and another day of rest, watch your eyes with a second alpine week of very high standards. A Morzine – Geneva stage to start the business, then the great return of the Col du Granon, perched at 2,400 m, one of the toughest in the Alps, whose laces have been waiting for climbers since 1986, and, to end the infernal triptych, July 14 at the top of Alpe d’Huez, which the runners had not approached since 2018.

Lourdes and Rocamadour the last week

The organizations will hardly be able to breathe on the way to the Pyrenees with an arrival in Mende, in Lozère, on the Côte de la Croix Neuve renamed “Montée Jalabert” after the feat of the tri-colored runner who won after a very long single-handed breakaway in 1995. In the Pyrenees, the last explanations of the climbers are scheduled for July 20, with a spectacular arrival at the altiport of the Peyragudes resort, where a certain James Bond stood out in 1997 (in Tomorrow never dies) but especially Romain Bardet winner in 2017, and the next day, July 21, after leaving the sanctuary of Lourdes, another fight on the peaks in Hautacam, who had been patient since 2014.

Finally, the icing on the cake, the time trial which can play justices of the peace on July 23. This year, it will be a yellow jersey and a black virgin, since the final race against the chronometer is scheduled in Rocamadour, the medieval and religious city of Lot, the day before the finish on the Champs-Élysées, on Sunday July 24. Where, even before the arrival of the men, the teams of the Women’s Tour de France will leave, returning after more than 30 years of absence.

→ ANALYSIS. The beautiful autumn of women’s cycling

The event, run from 1984 to 1989 as the curtain-raiser of the Men’s Tour, will be limited to eight days next year. The race director, the former champion and television consultant Marion Rousse, presented a course of 1,029 km concentrated in the north-east of France, and which promises a successful arrival on July 31 on the arid slopes from the Planche des Belles-Filles, borrowed a few days earlier by these gentlemen.


The 21 stages of the Tour de France 2022

The 2022 Tour de France has a distance of 3,328 kilometers, an estimate that may be slightly corrected after the organizers’ last reconnaissance.

1st step: Copenhagen (DAN) – Copenhagen, 13 km (individual time trial) (July 1)

2nd step: Roskilde (DAN) – Nyborg (DAN), 199 km (July 2)

3rd step: Vejle (DAN) – Sönderborg (DAN), 182 km (July 3)

Transfer (July 4)

4th step: Dunkirk – Calais, 172 km (July 5)

5th step: Lille Métropole – Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 155 km (July 6)

6th step: Binche (BEL) – Longwy, 220 km (July 7)

7th step: Tomblaine – The great Belles-Filles board, 176 km (July 8)

8th step: Dole – Lausanne (SUI), 184 km (July 9)

9th step: Aigle (SUI) – Châtel, 183 km (July 10)

Rest in Morzine (July 11)

10th step: Morzine – Megeve, 148 km (July 12)

11th step: Albertville – Granon pass, 149 km (July 13)

12th step: Briançon – Alpe d’Huez, 166 km (July 14)

13th step: Bourg d’Oisans – Saint-Étienne, 193 km (July 15)

14th step: Saint-Étienne – Mende, 195 km (July 16)

15th step: Rodez – Carcassonne, 200 km (July 17)

Rest in Carcassonne (July 18)

16th step: Carcassonne – Foix, 179 km (July 19)

17th step: Saint-Gaudens – Peyragudes, 130 km (July 20)

18th stage: Lourdes – Hautacam, 143 km (July 21)

19th stage: Castelnau-Magnoac – Cahors, 189 km (July 22)

20th step: Lacapelle-Marival – Rocamadour, 40 km (individual time trial) (23 July)

21st step: Paris La Défense Arena – Paris Champs-Elysées, 112 km (July 24)