“One wonders what he is doing among amateurs…” The statement is signed by Vendéen Thomas Bonnet, Saturday, at the finish of the 4th stage of the Essor Breton. He summed up the general feeling on the event about Johan Le Bon who, after winning the Tour de Bretagne (with two stage successes), made short work of the Rise of Breton. And he echoed those already heard many times, a week earlier, in Lannion where the local child had outplayed the professionals in the biggest stage race in the region. So, Johan Le Bon, pro from August 2009 to March 2021, is he in his place on the floor below?
“The impression that they were going to the slaughterhouse…”
“Followers, amateur sports directors, amateur runners, everyone thinks not,” confides Dominique, his father. “Unfortunately, those who decide do not have the same opinion on the question. Some of them must however purse their lips a little”, he adds, paradoxically disappointed and happy to see his favorite rider evolving at this level.
“They (managers of professional teams) couldn’t take it. If they had put him in the same position as today, ah, he would have won races… (he has totaled six in twelve years). He was never happy with the pros. When I saw him with his teammates at the start of the races, I sometimes had the impression that they were going to the slaughterhouse. For two years, I have found my son, ”continues the one who also had an experience among the elite (in 1984). “With us, he runs free, it’s the bike he loves, the pleasure bike as he repeats,” continues Jean-François Bodennec, sports director at Dinan Sport Cycling.
“I do not close all the doors”
“Physically, he is not stronger than he was but he is good in his head. I’m not sure he would have won the Tour of Britain with a pro team. “At the end of last season, Johan Le Bon had declined three proposals from the 3rd division (Roubaix, Nantes and Nice) and had not hidden that he would have reviewed his position in the event of better proposals. He repeated the same thing when the Rise arrived. “I don’t worry anymore, I’ve already taken it enough with the pros. Now, I don’t close all the doors. »
For now, they do not open. “I don’t want to repeat the experience. With Jojo, we went around the question, ”explains Marc Madiot (Groupama-FDJ) who had him for five seasons. “He’s a winner and I don’t think he wants to team up with the pros. Without pressure, he has fun ten times more among amateurs, ”says Emmanuel Hubert (Arkéa-Samsic) who had him in his debut.
“Do I regret not having kept it? No. With us, he was slowed down by his two operations (of the iliac artery) but in full possession of his means, he was not sparkling either, ”judge Jérôme Pineau (B & B Hotels, his last pro team ).
Like Vincent Lavenu (AG2R), Jean-René Bernaudeau (TotalEnergies) explains that he first relies on his pool (Vendée U) to recruit. But let it be known that there is a great move to be made. “Today’s Johan is yesterday’s Johan. Whoever reaches out to him will not take any risks. He is a machine, an extraordinary rider. »
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