After engineering a breakaway of over 160 kilometers on the penultimate stage of the Paris-Nice, Johann Tschopp succeeded in hammering his stamp on the race’s King of the Mountains jersey.
As one of eleven escapees, the man from the Valais region had the luxury of picking off the top spot in four of the five categorized climbs, two of which threw off first category points. With thirty-three additional points scored on the day, Tschopp came away with a firm grasp on the jersey with only one more stage to finish.
After all the climbing, Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma) won the sprint on a very fast run into the city of Nice, with IAM Cycling’s Heinrich Haussler well placed in the final, finishing in 8th place on the Promenade des Anglais. At the end of the day, Johann Tschopp was very pleased to have accomplished his objective for the race. “I made the right move to get into the break and then managed to take top points over every climb except for the first little bump.
If we hadn’t had two pretty dangerous riders for the GC in our group, we probably could have hoped to play for the victory. In any case, winning the climbers jersey is a great victory not only for me, but for IAM Cycling as well. We have shown the jersey throughout the week at the head of the race, and have been competitive on several levels.”
Directeur Sportif Serge Beucherie was happy to confirm Tschopp’s remarks, and well appreciates his rider’s performance. “We could have felt like this Paris-Nice had gone badly for us, but Johann’s success and the determination of the team have saved us from any such disappointment.
After his strong ride in Saturday’s stage to Nice, all Tschopp had to do to wear the polka dot jersey on the final podium was finish the stage. Not content to treat the 9.6 kilometer time trial up the famous col d’Éze as a victory lap, Tschopp and his IAM Cycling teammates set out to achieve the best times possible in the stage, which was eventually won by Richie Porte (Sky). Even though they were not in the running for an overall victory, the whole IAM Cycling team wanted to honor the race by never letting up until the final finish line. Team Manager Serge Beucherie was pleased with the efforts of the team throughout the week. “Though we had some setbacks with crashes that sapped the strength of our guys like Martin Elminger, Heinrich Haussler, Thomas Löfkvist and even Johann Tschopp, we never gave up trying. I am glad to see this sort of determination from our guys, and know that it bodes well for us in future races.”
Winning one of the major jerseys at Paris-Nice is a proud accomplishment for any team and rider. Johann Tschopp was quick to acknowledge the effort of the whole team in helping him secure this award. “This is a very important step for IAM Cycing, so early in its existence. The team work was really essential, and in my experience rarely does a young team gel so well so quickly; we work well together and we enjoy each other’s company, and that is really what will be the deciding factor when we are challenged by circumstances, but still pull through.”