Laurence Leboucher: objective Athens

    There are 18 high-level sportsmen taken out of the ranks of The Post office in France. Laurence Leboucher is the only champion untied from The Post office of all the West. In 28 years, this Alençonnaise accumulates the victories: champion of France Roads. Junior ( 89 ), Champion of France cyclo-cross (2000), Champion of France MOUNTAIN BIKE (96,98,99 and 2000), champion Europe MOUNTAIN BIKE (98 and 2000), world champion MOUNTAIN BIKE ( 98 ).

    She did not regrettably add Olympic medal to her brilliant prize list. Meeting is thus taken in 2004 in Athens, and to do it, Laurence Leboucher is going to put all the chances from her part...

    Le Perche : how did you come to the cycle?

    Laurence Leboucher: when I was young, I looked at the Tour de France at the TV. While seeing Bernard Hinault struggling in the mountain I had the click and where I am put in the cycle of road.

    L. P.: you obtained good results on road. How you are spent in the MOUNTAIN BIKE ?

    L.L.: We suggested me running in MOUNTAIN BIKE a little bit accidentally, in 95. That pleased me at once. And then my past on road served a lot me: now, I know that I have make the good choice.

    L. P.: there is a big difference of mediatization between the cycle of road and the MOUNTAIN BIKE. You do not find that inequitable?

    L.L.: It is a still young sport, but there is not in. Complain. The main advantage of the MOUNTAIN BIKE, it is because there is no this difference between men and women as in the cycle of road. We have the same calendars, the same runnings. There is more respect between the runners.

    L.P : Et sur, le plan du dopage, il y a aussi des différences ?

    LL.: II had positive controls in the MOUNTAIN BIKE there also. It is difficult in athlete's life of knowledge that that is made, that on the line, we have. Not every the same chances and as it is not because of the training... But in the MOUNTAIN BIKE, it is not organized as on the road. II has no networks there. As for me, I ever took nothing and nobody ever came to see me to propose whatever it is... L.P.: How take place the trainings? 

    L.L.: I train around to me, to St-Léonard-des-Bois. But it is necessary to know that 80 % of the training is made on road. For the championships of Europe or the World, I ride in team of France. Otherwise, I make party of an American team, Team G.T But from the next year, I am going to create my own structure. In 28 years, I want to evolve, to choose my rides, my rhythm of training. It is less hard to manage because everything will depend only on me. And I can have a better repair, be massed every day. During the preparations. It is like that that I plan to prepare Athens.

    L.P. : Were you disappointed in Sydney?

    L.L.: What arrived at me was totally unforeseen but I am not a dupe. It is necessary to look in front of now. I have to keep my champion's copy of France on January 14th for Blaye and my world champion's title on February 3rd in Czech Republic.

    L.. P.: what is your best recollection of competition?

    LL.: I was selected for three Olympic Games. I have never had a medal but I keep a tremendous recollection of the parade of the opening ceremony in Barcelona. This year, my trainers did not wish that I participate in it.

    L.P.: To part! E MOUNTAIN BIKE, you have the other passions?

    L. L: I have 15 cycles in my garage, but I also like the go-carting, the motorcycle. And then the music, the guitar, the secondhand trades. And I have two asses about which I am crazy...   

Beginning 2002...


The First Champion of France of cyclo cross, Laurence Leboucher began well the year 2000. Specialist of... MOUNTAIN BIKE wants to continue on her departure by keeping in target a medal for the Olympic Games of Sydney. On the other hand, the next World championships of cyclo crosses do not constitute one of its priority objectives, even if she will go to the Low Countries with ambitions. Interview.

Cycle France: Laurence, what feeling it gets it to be the first crowned woman Champion of France of cyclo cross in the history of the cycling?

Laurence Leboucher: " It indeed is always to write the first line of the prize list of a test. It will be the reference for later especially that this title was awarded in the year 2000 to a symbolic date of the History. I appreciate moreover the cyclo cross. This type of test offers us a more direct contact with the public than in MOUNTAIN BIKE. The courses are also shorter and we are never but shielded from a fall or of one flat. In the final, it Leaves a room for manoeuvre reduced enough face to face opponents. "

Cycle France : You dedicated your title to Pascale Ranucci. Who was for you the national trainer of the Ladies?

LL: " Pascale was above all a friend. I know her relatives. In the last Cliff of Azure we had partied together. A mutual confidence united us. When we taught me her disappearance, I was sad in it, to believe. I had still seen her three days previously in the evening the Champions of the FFC and we had given ourselves produce you to Manosque to evoke the season because this evening there we had had enough no time to speak to itself. It is too stupid!



Cycle France: At the end of January, you will compete for the first World championships Ladies of cyclo cross What will be there your ambitions?

LL: " We go to see. I do not know too much where I am situated with regard to the international hierarchy. Be that as it may, I shall give the maximum of me even in the day D, even if I did not dedicate too much specific training to the cyclo-cross this winter. Jean Yves Plaisance brought back to me that the Dutchwomen prepare this objective for a long time but personally, I did not peel the results of the girls during the last stages of World cup of cyclo cross. We also said to me that Kupfernagel, the German, worked hardly. I do not see whom she is. I know that it is an excellent road, but that set apart... Everything can arrive in the daytime of World championships. Nevertheless, I have an advantage with regard to my opponents. This Mundial does not constitute one of my big objectives of the season and I am going to approach it without the slightest pressure on me. I have to lose nothing I... "

Cycle France : we say that the circuit of Sint Michielgestel is very rolling and little technical. This point worries you it ?

LL: " When that rolls hardly the course becomes necessarily technical. We arrive fast on the obstacles, the boards, and it becomes technical When we make physical efforts, we make more easily errors. But I admit that I would have preferred a more technical circuit because physically I am not still 100 % of my possibilities. I am not still at the top of my shape. "  

Cycle France: What do you think about the arrival of the ladies in the cyclo cross?

LL: " I think that it restores life in the discipline. It is always better to add a category rather than to abolish one! We repeated these last winters when the cyclo cross was a speciality in loss of speed, when the MOUNTAIN BIKE competed with it... We were nevertheless able to see to Manosque that not bad of bikers were engaged for these Championships of France of cyclo-cross. Now, it is them who constitute the mass in cyclo-cross the winter. It comes true at the level national is like the regional level. The boys welcomed well us, us the girls. Most make of the MOUNTAIN BIKE and one are already next to them the summer. They were not thus shocked to see us arriving this winter on cycles of cyclo cross, especially that we were not ridiculous. Like, an example, during the regional championships, when the police commissioners stopped me in the term of the duration of the feminine test, I occupied the fifth Junior mass place. That means that we have our place in this discipline And then the MOUNTAIN BIKE, the BMX, the track and the road awarded champion's title of France, the only speciality in which it was not made, it was the cyclo-cross. ". 

Cycle France.: If you become World champion of cyclo cross, which value will you acquire as such?

LL: " If I win in Holland, the shirt and the title will have so much value as another world champion's title. I was World champion of MOUNTAIN BIKE and I know what that represents. If I win cyclo cross, I shall savor more still the victory than during my coronation in Canada in 1998. When we become World champion for the first time, we do not realize what arrives. We really realize it only when we lost the shirt. The only matter that I shall add about produce you of Sint Michialegestel, it is that this day there I shall try to make the most tactical possible ride... " 

Cycle France.: This winter, you seem to be again imperial as in 1998. That is it crossed in 1999?

LL " There was a conjunction of a heap of circumstances which made that I did not work last year. First point, I cut more than a month during winter and it had never arrived at me previously. I took advantage of the life, the small flat there small restaurants by this, without forgetting the desserts. I needed to release me after my title because I had made the profession as ever during all year. I also changed team and I had to learn English, not that of the school but the one who was going to allow me to manage within my new training. In March, I was indeed but I had to start the too fast training. I obtained results with the national on the road. I participated in the escapees with the runners of regional series. And then during my first journey in the USA, I enlarged. I did not any more manage to get back. We noticed that an old thyroïdien problem had just woken up. I continued to train while it did not go. 99 was not a magnificent season but I have no regrets. We learn more in the defeat that when the victories are linked. There, I put everything in flat and I drew up balance sheet which was led. Only interesting point of this year: I preserve my champion's title of France of cross-country while I was not the strongest. I win at the profession. It is can be for me the victory which has most value. That will remain a big collection in my career... "



Cycle France : the major meeting of the year 2000 is fixed in Sydney. Already think you of the Olympic Games?

LL: " No, I do not think of it at the moment. It is still far the September. You should not too much get into a panic. That is going to come as one goes along. Naturally, the Olympic Games are in a corner of my head but without as far as it turns to the obsession. It is necessary to be selected first of all. I always leave the principle that we are never selected by virtue of one's office. Then, it is also necessary to work. If we go to the Games without "working", it is of use to nothing. My objective is to return a medal. I think to have the potential. I was already World champion, Champion of Europe, I won stages of the World cup of MOUNTAIN BIKE, the Olympic Games it is not harder than these tests there The main part, it will be that everything is well in the daytime J: the head, the legs and the cycle. The circuit in more pleases me. It is a true slide. That does not stop rising and coming down all the time as to the Mountain Ste Anne. The times of recovery are counted. I really appreciate this kind of course where everything is made in the wear. The tactics will be also dominating. It will be necessary to show itself sly, to run as on the road and to possess a good experience. "

Cycle France : Let us imagine that you became Olympic champion of MOUNTAIN BIKE in Australia, what sports dreams could feed again for the continuation ?

LL. " Olympic champion or not, I shall still continue the cycling during four years. I was already crowned World champion of MOUNTAIN BIKE and it is not for it that the World does not motivate me any more. If I listened to, I would aim at all the races, at all the victories. I have of May to slow down. But as I begin to age a little, I am wiser and the experience says to me that it is necessary to select peaks in a season, not to make everything at 100 %. When we are young, we have difficulty in putting itself in sucks it, this thing there, we like to win. I always like so much the feeling that gets the victory, but I select more. Even if it is still hard for me. "



LEC.: You nevertheless added a supplementary objective to your season 2000 by putting your candidature in a selection for World championships on road to Plouay. Why?

LL: " That, it is the dream which can become reality, I hope for it at least. Plouay, it is the World championship which I want to live. I imagine that it is going to be the madness with all the public who will move. I lived the World on road of Stuttgart and I remind myself that there were three spectators' rows. There was the Swiss who made a barouf of hell with their bells. I had nineteen years old in the time and this recollection remains very strong. But I think that, for all the competitors, Plouay will be even stronger.

If I am selected for this running, I otherwise claim to give nothing a help to the team. The girls who make of the road all year long are priority on me. But I also know that at the Ladies, if today we do not run in team, we cannot hope big for matter. At the international level, it is necessary to run welded. Jeannie Longo needs to be supported during World championships to make forehead in front of Lithuanians, of the Russians and of the Italians France is capable of running in team. He is not right there. If we need to regain prestige of the feminine cycling, it is there, to Plouay, that it is advisable to make it. Me, I best wishes on road are victory obtained in team with Sophie Eglin Hosotte at the Middle of August Breton and with Sandra Temporelli in the Tour of the Drôme in 98. There, it was true journeys of team. "


France Cycle.: Exactly you speak about Sandra Temporelli it is your rival on a cycle and nevertheless in the life it is your friend. Is this a little bit paradoxical step ?

 LL: " On a cycle we are rival. Later, we manage to be friends. It is the strongest who wins, here is everything, I do not make her the mouth if she beats me and conversely. It is as runner's role, for me it does not limit to press on pedals. We have to represent the other matter for the sponsors who engage us. The communication, the public relations, it is also our duty. And so it is necessary to behave when we are racing, professional cyclist besides... "

France Cycle: Last question Laurence is about what you can speak to us of your asses ?

LL: " How you know that, you ? Yes it's true, I have two small asses. Galopin and Galopine who are going to have the small year the year 2000. Asses, it is cool, it saves lawn mower! They are of Cotentin with the white cross on the forehead. It is my relatives and my uncle that take charge of it when I am on the journeys. I am even going to tell you an anecdote which the only one Sandra Temporelli and the doctor of the team of France know. In 98, when it was still alone, Urchin ( in english ) tended to bite. Some days before the World in the Mountain Ste Anne it bit me both thumbs. Because of that, I had the same bankrupt to change my handles of gear XTR against grip shifts. But I saw in May saying in my team that I had to operate so a review because of a bite of ass. I had the crazy evil during a week. Fortunately that passed. But I was hot on this blow there!

 From Hervé Bombrun
La France Cycliste, January of 2000

2002 started

The season 2002 has just started again, what are your first impressions ?

 " I miss considerably MOUNTAIN BIKE, it is clear. I have the engine but now I have to put the turbo! I have the physical appearance but I miss the competition because I did not make enough intensity. But the season is still long and the objectives are still far. I shall be can be limit for the World cup but I am going to aim at the championships of France, Europe and the world. My world champion's title of cyclo-cross completely upset my beginning of season, it was unexpected and I had not envisaged it in my head. I thus have a little of delay on my schedule. "

    What is your program for this season?

     " I am going to make at least three stages of World cup: Madrid, Houffalize and Gets. On the other hand, I do not know if I shall participate in both stages in Canada, it will depend on first results. I do not intend to go to Canada to make of the representation, it is of use to nothing and it is too expensive ! We go to see but I shall review after Houffalize. "

    What are your main clauses opponents in section of the world?

     " I see Merida, they make a festival in section of Switzerland and it is impressionant. I expect the worst in Madrid and Houffalize! I thus think that Dahle and Spitz is going to be big capacity with Marga Fullana. She will be at home in Madrid and I think that she will indeed be even if it belongs to quits or double with her. Otherwise, I see Blatter, Sydor, Dunlap at the level of the international rides. It is about the forces in presence. "

    And in cup of France ?

     " It is necessary to follow Hélène Marcouyre, she works widely better than last year. There are also the girls of Egobike with Sabrina Enaux who works well, there are a lot of people and it grows a little! "

    Does the fact of having lost champion's title of France last year motivate you more?

     " Yes, I want to resume it because a title is a title. People better realize champion's title of France. Last year, I win a stage of World cup but practically everybody forgot it, nobody speaks to me about it. On the other hand, we speak about my champion's title of Europe. "

    There are no more than five stages in section of the world, is it a supplementary pressure?

     " No, I have no pressure. We impose me no ride, I give myself objectives and I choose my tests. Last year, I moreover made only three stages thus it changes nothing. "

    And of what do you think of this evolution?

     " In fact, I do not know too much what to think. It too much has to be expensive. But, it is also the case for the teams because eight stages of World cup, it wants to say eight movements and it is all the same big budgets. It was indeed when there were eight stages and five taken into account results, at least there were jokers. Today, we have no right for the error while nobody is shielded from a mechanical problem in MOUNTAIN BIKE. "

    Lucie Garnier is only 15 years old, she represents the future of the MOUNTAIN BIKE. How did you choose her to integrate the team?

     " It is her brothers who came to knock at the door, I knew them and they advertised well her ! I was seduced by the behavior because we cannot too much realize physical qualities at this age there. It does not want to say big thing, we have young people who are going to work in younger child then we shall never revise them because they too much made it. On the other hand, it is the state of mind which pleased me well. "

    Is she Sarthoise?

     " She is Mayennaise but she has the Sarthe on the back! "

    Did the regional side initiate ?

     " Yes, because I would never have taken a young person who lived in 300 km of the house, it does not interest me. It is necessary all the same of the nearness. I do not pull it but her club of Evron is very well for the young people. It is Franck Thomas who supervises them and the young people do not make error for the training. "

    And what is its potential ?

     " It is hard to say it at the age. There are the other things which return on-line of account as the head. It is above all the state of mind that it is necessary credit note by being high-level athlete, it is necessary to want it, it is always necessary to fight. It is necessary to agree to be behind for then to be in front of and it is not evident for the young people. Some win everything in junior then later they do not agree to be any more on podia to senior, we do not arrive as it there and there are years of transition. "

    I like, I like not?

     " I like the MOUNTAIN BIKE already, the sport. I like to fight on a cycle. On the other hand at the extra-sports level, I have it, have a good laugh to fight, I less like. It is hard to convince people because they have difficulty in reporting of the supplied work. Otherwise, I do not love the jealous persons and there is all the same not bad. They have the impression that Laurence Leboucher, world champion, has only to slam fingers to obtain all the budgets. In fact, we are all in the same bad adventure and all the teams today are sad. The ideal would be to have a million francs of budget but I do not have it, I have hardly the quarter of it thus it is not the same matter. But it is what would be needed to be professional. Today, we are amateurs even if we have results of pros. " 

    And if you had three wishes to be formulated?

     " The first one would be that there are people who did not make that to congratulate me but that they help me financially. In force, I am afraid of having it have a good laugh. I fight so that it succeeds but one day, it is going to break. The second is to make a medal for the Olympic Games, it would be the top and the fulfillment of a prize list. Finally, the third is to have the health because it is the main thing I think. When we have her four members and when everything works, we can make full of things and it is important. There are people who are in worse situations than we thus we do not have to complain too much, even if we would always like to have better! "

    Comment collected on May 12th, 2002 by Cycle 101