During each stage of the 75th edition of the Tour de Romandie, our questions are answered by a person from the region affected by the route. The runner from Vaud d’Ollon, the last Swiss winner of the 1998 French-language cycle, knows this Sunday’s route like the back of his hand.
Your connection to today’s scene?
It is obvious. I lived in Eagle from 1991 to 1995, was part of the Cyclophile d’Aigle, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year and which will start this ordeal on time. And then, I’m a boyar who lives in Ollon, it’s halfway, it’s in the city of Villar, so here’s the obvious connection that ties me to this Sunday scene. This slope has been kind of my playground for several years, tonight before or during my career. And even now! You can climb the Villar on several slopes, Grion or Ollon, and then continue on the Col de la Croix, so it is an ideal region for cycling, whether professional pelotons or popular, who can enjoy the beauty of the Alpes-de-Haute.
Your good cycling plan for the region?
There will definitely be some good plans. But it is true that we are spoiled there: we go up to Villard via Grion, then we can push to the Col de la Croix and enjoy the brilliant panorama there. Then you can go back to Les Diablerets, add Pillon and Les Mosses, which for me is quite a symbolic tour of my region.
Your connection to the Tour de Romandi?
This is the race of my heart. Communication, I have since childhood. We were all on our way to applaud the champions. So when you start this sport, you obviously admire the Tour de Romandi. I remember that when I was 13 or 14, my club VC Rennaz organized the stage finish in Vilnius, and we went to a meeting with the audience. Later, this dream came true, with my first participation in the Tour de Romandie in 1991. In addition, I finished fifth and best young rider! Later, the western loop was always one of my first goals of the season. Until this final victory in 1998, which made me the only Roman winner with Pascal (Richard). I also remember winning the stages at La Chaux-de-Fonds or Los-les-Bains, so yes, I have a very strong and very special connection to this event.
Your best memory is of the Tour de Romandi?
I obviously have a few, but it is clear that my final victory in 1998 remained with me. I often went to the start with ambition, but for various reasons it did not work out. In 1998, I reached maturity with great confidence and a great team around me. But I especially remember from this Tour my victory in the first stage, near Senegalier, after winning the prologue the day before. I managed to surprise all the favorites in the last kilometer of the victory with a green T-shirt on his shoulders. This is a very, very good memory.
An anecdote about the edge that the scene crossed?
In 1997, the Tour de France was held there, and I was part of the peloton. I remember it was an incredible crowd yesterday on the ascent of the Col de la Croix with my fan club, which came en masse, and it will be an unforgettable day for me. This communication with my fans in the biggest race in the world will forever remain in my memory.
Where are you going to take the step?
I will be on site at Villarse as a spectator and guest. With the same pleasure as always: to be present at the race, to find former riders, as well as those who have always worked on the Tour de Romandie. That’s why I’m happy.