When you ask Clara Copponi what she loves about sports, the answer is immediate: “Won! “ “I’ve always been a snapper, trying to win no matter what. Even at school crossroads, that’s it…”, the 24-year-old cyclist explained over a chuckle. Trying to recover on the road, the Aix-en-Provence native came close to winning the opening stage of the Santos Tour de France (Australia) in January; she eventually had to settle for second place behind Poland’s Daria Pikulik. The result confirmed her good momentum from last season, with the FDJ-Suez sprinter earning her first professional success – stage victories in the Women’s Tour and La Choralis Fourmies – but not enough to fully satisfy interested parties .
Clara Copponi, who just came back from antipodes, is going to remedy this. From February 8th to 12th, she switched from her training jersey to a French team at the European Athletics Championships in Granges, Switzerland. The goal is clear: to win the championship. At the “Europe” competition in Munich (Germany) in August 2022, she won three medals in the competitions she participated in: bronze in the team pursuit, silver in the American race and the all-around event. A few months later, during the World Championships, at the Vélodrome in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, site of the 2024 Olympic Games (OG) events, Clara Copponi was again invited to the podium (2nd in the US, 3rd in Europe) team Pursue). “Well, one day, it will be nice to climb the highest steps”she joked.
The cyclist has come a long way since her disappointment in the summer of 2021 in Tokyo, where she finished fifthelectronic America and 8electronic Almighty. “It’s been very complicated for a long timeshe recalled. For about six months I couldn’t talk about it without cryingriver It’s hard to come back from a game like this, where you expect great things. Physically, I was never as strong as I was when I left the Olympics telling myself I was super bad. For such a grand event, everyone is going to the top, I think it is difficult for me to understand. Now, I put it in perspective: No. 5 in the Olympics, at 22, isn’t bad. Then I use it too, telling myself now I know what stress is. »
“Become an Olympic champion on the track in 2024”
The year 2023 for young women will be dense. On tarmac, his FDJ-Suez formation dominates the World Tour – Elite Class of Road Cycling -, 4electronic In the world rankings for 2022, it ranks first in the current financial year. Meanwhile, Olympic qualifying for Paris is also taking place on the track, with Granges marking the first stage. ” I’m very lucky. [Les responsables de la FDJ-Suez] Over-accommodating with the French teamshe explained. At the start of the season we’re going to try to make a plan for me where I can still rest because we have a lot of travel. » Clara Copponi returned from Australia at the end of January and must return to Jakarta after the European Championships in Switzerland.
He also had to make a choice. “I’m supposed to do three or four classics in 2023, big goals, maybe including Paris-Roubaix. I’ve been waiting for two years. The track was more complicated before, I don’t want to take risks. » Clara Copponi knows she won’t be racing the July 23-30 Tour de France. In 2022, she has not participated in the return adventure of the women’s version of the event after an absence of 30 years. “I’m very disappointed, but I’ve picked myself up from the Giro. I still hope to do the Grand Tour in 2023, not La Vuelta. Tour de France, I’ll have time to do it. »
Sprinters are pragmatic. “I know my chances of winning on stage are still slim [de la Grande Boucle]. Even helping my teammates, it’s a role I enjoy – like in Australia I’m really happy. You have to know what you want, and what I want is to be an Olympic track and field champion in 2024. ” Especially since the Glasgow World Championships (3-13 August), which begins four days after the arrival of the women’s tour detachment in Pau, brings together all the different cycling disciplines in a single event for the first time. “This Tour World Championship sequence is not optimal preparationClara Copponi argues. The best thing to do this summer is obviously to have a full rehearsal for the Olympics during the World Championships, as they will be held almost exactly on the same day. [du 5 au 11 août, à Paris, en 2024]. »
In this European Championship, Clara Coponi and her teammates from FDJ-Suez, European vice champion and world champion Victoria Guacini will start chasing with the Italian team. At the headquarters of Française des Jeux in Haute-Seine in early February, two young women poked fun at each other about the issue while presenting the training objectives. “When you’re in a racetrack, inevitably there’s competition. But at the start of the race, we always have a little look, a smile, Slip French. Also, we often play against Italians in finals, we often lose to Italians…” and “roar” Dating: “In Paris we will see who has the final say. »