At the Giro d’Italia, Frenchman Damien Monier, sprinted alone for 3 kms and gained is first professional win. Damien fitted with his two breakaway riders, Danilo Hondo and Stefan Kruijswijk on stage 17. It was pure luck when his teammate Tristan Valentin got ill and Monier took his place which brought to colorful start of his career.
After the race, the 27 year old Frenchman explained that it is his eighth season with the team Cofidis and is considered to be a veteran. He said, “Probably I turned pro too young, only four years after starting cycling at 17,” and added, “I almost returned to the amateur ranks because I didn’t have the level of professional cycling. I fought for results and only last year I started to get some.” He placed fourth in the 2009 Tour de 1’Ain and was getting offers by other French teams.
Bernard Quilfen, Directeur Sportif knew all along that Damien has got much to learn in road racing and the Cofidis team is proud to have the former U23 French time trial 2003 champion and twice national pursuit champion under their wings. Their patience is paying off.
The Cofidis riders were urged to disengage and enter breakaways before the start of stage 17, however, the team management expected to see David Moncoutie or Monier to get in the move. Prior to the first major climb of the race, the breakaway started its move and it was Monier who disengaged and not the two-time king of Vuelta a Espana, Moncoutie.
Neo-pro Julien Fouchard who took the second place in Novi Ligure said, “Damien succeeded while I lacked the experience to beat Jerome Pineau on stage 5. That makes the Giro d’Italia a success for Cofidis.” It is the second win for France this year at the Giro, courtesy of Monier.
Five years ago, Christophe Le Mevel won the Giro stage before Pineau. This is also the fourteenth win for Cofidis in 2010. In the present international season at the same level that of Saxo Bank, the Pro Continental French team is the third best scorer while the most successful teams are HTC-Columbia and Liquigas.
Monier said, “I had a strong motivation to win today,” and added, “I wanted to get such a result for my dad who passed away last year. When I crossed the line, I didn’t believe I had won. A few seconds later, I said to myself ‘finally! I’ve seen the light’. I don’t know why but when I left home for the Giro, I told my wife I’d win a stage.”
Monier is married to Jin Xiaoyum from Shanghai. One and half a year ago, he fathered a baby girl and named her Chloe, Kai Ling in Chinese. The stage winner Monier is hoping to get a taste of the Tour de France.