Mountain Bike



Hard, Hard! But the descents will help me now.

    With 10 years of license F.F.C. and her results at the national level, Laurence is not a newcomer. Exit of the small groupes of the Tour de France and the family in which the cycle is omnipresent, the young person grew between guidon and derailing stop.

    " They imagine themselves that I have just begun but you should not believe, I run for ten years ", exclaims Laurence Leboucher, at the address of those who discover her today, thanks to her English victory. " In fact, there is no miracle, to arrive at the top, it is long. " Small, slim, nothing distinguishes her from any 25-year-old young lady, but it is when she speaks about cycle which we understand. On the subject, no circumlocution, it goes up to the purpose, without make-up . Worse, her language often borrows expressions current in the small groupes which she frequented. What she loses then in femininity, she gains it in efficiency. As far as of her childhood, she kept the common sense of the expressions of her soil. And as her language looks like her, we are fast convinced to be in the presence of a girl's sacred stalk. So, that even by knowing her, we shall not really know what motivates her most: the cycle in itself or " winning it ". On the other hand, say about her that she is firm and slogger, it is to accumulate pleonasms !

    Girl ., already...

     At the age of 15, she asks for a cycle to her father, " I had girl's small cycle, I could make nothing with ". But Dad laughs, he believes that his daughter makes a temporary quirk. " As a result, I bought my first one Peugeot with my allowance... It was not the top, but I could begin. " During one year, she drives with her father and her cyclos friends, putting down them, at feet of every bump... It is because she has Legs, the girl, and when on one year later, she wins the first regional ride in which she participates, we take her seriously. Impressive, her backpacker's life will not nevertheless be really fairy's tale. Champion of France, at the end of her first season, " Fifi stalk of steel " does not stay there there. We find it, in 89 on the Tour and in world championships 91, member of the team of France, she wins some runs, in spite of a mononucléose and a fracture of the wrist 92, it is the year of the Tub and she makes only 15th to the worlds. In the games of 92, she has to give up her place to Longo, simpleton the doubt settles down in the head, " I did not know any more why I took the departure of a test ". In 93, thanks to a sponsor, she arranges two MOUNTAIN BIKE and wins its first Paris-Roubaix MOUNTAIN BIKE. And if we find her on the Tour de France, it will be only to arrest better the road: after ten days of ride, the fall of a tree breaks her three vertebras. Three weeks of immobilization later, the decision is taken, it will be the MOUNTAIN BIKE.


    Fury and stubbornness

    " I was completely kicked down after only 22 kilometres ", she laughs in Remembering her first tour of cycle, after the accident. She will need several months of efforts to find a level deserving of his ambition. " At the beginning of the season 95, I said myself, either I work, or I arrest the professional cycle. " The answer arrives at the cup of France of Sarlat where she wins with six minutes beforehand, under the colours of Winora. 11th in the games of 96 and 7th to the worlds with MBK, Laurence is then helped by The Post office. Integrated into the feminine team Peugeot, she shares henceforth her time between her season and her post in the communication of The Post office of the Orne. No report? " If, on the contrary the compet looks of the assurance to exercise responsibilities ", the one estimates who compares the high-level sportsmen to managers.


    It is doubtless there as well that Laurence draws the will not to fall asleep. Assured by a "Situation", she looks, thinks and works ceaselessly. Of the road, she pulled this capacity of resistance in the regular effort. The tactics also. The one who makes her observe permanently, her opponents, " if you make it not, you do not know when the other one thus explodes when you have to make the effort ". She is as it, Laurence, without hatred nor friendship on the circuit, but with the constant concern to be in front of the other one. It is for it that she changed her rifle of shoulder, in the edge of this season. She notices that, first one in the top of bumps, it is put until 7 seconds in the descents. The fury. As a result, this winter, she bulged of the technique with Philippe Guilleron, around Millau. " We made many BMX and I learnt to accompany the cycle and to release brakes. " The difference? Maintaining, I arrive faster below, I am fresher, less tense because I make fewer errors. "

    The result was not waiting, and Laurence is making us a route almost without fault, in the world cup. On the return to San Francisco, (5th), Laurence was starving: Pezzo, Sydor and other Dahle did not frighten her. Boast? " No, I only understood that they were in my reach. " To Silves, in Portugal, she confirms (4th), in spite of an annoying physical unfitness, (I was stuck and I made everything for the morale, not to lose points ". In Budapest, her competitors were able to inhale, " already that left badly: we changed tires in the last minute and I had not cramped my shoes ". She had bad adventure, loses the contact and abandons after three tours and four stops. " But this day there, I knew that I had the means to be in front of ", souvien-t-elle about a rib which she was the only one to climb the cycle. To Saint Wendel, Laurence took the running in hand, from the beginning. " I saw Pezzo and Sydor exploding and I met myself with Fullana who did not seem to the top of her shape. " As a result, Laurence meets herself alone, " toward the end, Dahle is brought in and wins ", still comments the beauty queen Peugeot by adding, " of any manners, I did not so like this circuit which ends by a descent ". It does not matter, the girls did not have more than to be well held, as far as the run of Plymouth pleases her, " I drove a lot above, in the training, it is pleasant ". Cold head, Laurence lets leave her rivals, just the time to warm up. And then, at feet of a bump, she takes the head, to release her not more. " I said myself, it is them or I who explode ". The continuation, we know it, Laurence ends with one minute beforehand. First Frenchwoman to win a stage of world cup, Laurence " made well the profession ", as she likes saying it.

VTT Mag (07/98)