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Published on 04-09-2024

Looking back at Itzulia Basque Country and Paris-Roubaix

Last week, the Team was involved in two World Tour races. One stage race on the roads of the Basque Country and the other on the terrible cobbles of Roubaix last Sunday. Even if the team was sometimes unlucky, our riders showed an irreproachable state of mind and demonstrated their ability to perform at the highest level.

Itzulia Basque Country

The Team’s adventure in Basque territory began with a highly technical individual time trial. Within the team, it was Jordan Jegat who set the quickest time on this first stage, just ahead of Fabien Doubey and Steff Cras. The start of a more than convincing week for our 24-year-old French rider.

On the second stage, the Team’s objective was clear: secure a rider in the breakaway, and put Steff Cras in the best possible position in the heart of the peloton. Alexis Vuillermoz fulfilled this first mission perfectly, being part of the breakaway for more than 140 km and winning the combativity prize. For the second mission, the team worked well together, with Fabien Grellier particularly hard at work for his teammates.

KANBO, FRANCE – APRIL 02: Alexis Vuillermoz of France and Team TotalEnergies celebrates at podium as most combative rider prize winner during the 63rd Itzulia Basque Country 2024, Stage 2 a 160km stage from Irun to Kanbo / #UCIWWT / on April 02, 2024 in Kanbo, France. (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

The third stage saw the riders take part in the first major mountain stage, between Espelette and Altsasu. It was Alan Jousseaume’s turn to try his luck at the front for most of the day. In the final, Fabien Doubey and Jordan Jegat were caught up in a crash, preventing them from finishing the stage in optimum conditions.

The following day, another rider from the Team took part in the breakaway: Mathieu Burgaudeau. Our rider did a great job before the race took a completely different turn. With 36km to go, a big crash occurred at the head of the peloton, taking several team leaders, including Steff Cras, to the ground. The race was neutralized and the injured riders were evacuated to hospital. In this particular context, the race was finally restarted only for the 6 frontrunners, who were able to battle for victory. Mathieu Burgaudeau crossed the finish line in 5th position. A few hours later, a medical check-up revealed a pneumothorax and several fractures to Steff’s ribs and vertebrae.

With many of the leaders missing, stage 5 started off on a very high note in terms of pace. Eventually, Mathieu Bugaudeau managed to join a late breakaway. Our rider was finally caught, but Jordan Jegat took over in the lead group and made a powerful impact in the final. Our rider finished with the same time as the day’s winner, a performance that put him in the top 10 of the overall classification.

On the final day of competition, it was the main stage that awaited our riders, with the double ascent of Arrate and its overexcited crowds. Fabien Doubey quickly joined a large breakaway of around thirty men, before the various groups completely collapsed during the climbs. Jordan Jegat hung on in a chasing group and crossed the finish line in 22nd position, finishing 17th overall. At the end of a very demanding stage that saw almost 30 riders give up, our 6 riders showed great mental strength and self-sacrifice right up to the finish line.

Despite a difficult week at times, with Steff Cras crashing out in particular, the Team held its head high and fought until the end. Our riders were also committed to the team’s values, trying their luck on numerous occasions in breakaways.


At the end of the week, the Team also had a date with the Hell of the North for one of the most eagerly awaited races of the beginning of the season. For the Team, 5 of the 7 riders involved were competing in their first Paris-Roubaix. And the least we can say is that this 2024 edition lived up to all its promises along a 260km route that remained extremely demanding on the riders’ bodies.

ROUBAIX, FRANCE – APRIL 07: Thomas Gachignard of France and Team TotalEnergies competes passing through the Capelle à Ruesnes cobblestones sector during the 121st Paris-Roubaix 2024 a 259.7km one day race from Compiegne to Roubaix / #UCIWT / on April 07, 2024 in Roubaix, France. (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)

Quite early in the race, numerous moves and crashes split the peloton into a large number of groups, with Sandy Dujardin being caught in a crash even before the first cobbled sectors. Dries Van Gestel managed to catch up with the favourites and stayed with them for most of the day. Despite several flat tyres, our Belgian rider hung on in a chasing group to cross the finish line in 13th position at the velodrome of Roubaix. Thomas Gachignard also put in a fine performance, finishing 30th in his first ever participation in the Queen of the Classics.

As usual, the Hell of the North lived up to its name and put the nerves of our riders to the test. Despite this, the team performed admirably and showed great self-sacrifice, with Dries Van Gestel coming out on top.