Johan Le Bon
Type of Rider: Allrounder
Biggest Success: Junior World Champion 2008
Team 2010: Bretagne-Schuller
Team 2011: Bretagne-Schuller
Best Mock List Ranking: 31st (2009)
Rarely young cyclists manage to transfer smoothly from juniors to the U23. Many junior champs are never again able to tie on to their old successes. Johan Le Bon isn’t one of those. Already for the second time he emerges in the Mock List – and a glimpse on his age reveals that this doesn’t have to be the last time…
The juniors European and World champion of 2008 made during the year 2009 the transfer from the amateur team UC Briochine to Bretagne-Schuller. There the young Breton continued in 2010 his path. And for the first time it seemed to be a rocky one – he had difficulties in finding his legs. During the first races of the new year the Franchman finished in the lower positions. Not until in his home race, the Tour de Bretagne (2.2), Le Bon defrosted and missed the stage win in the time trial on the island of Jersey being beaten by only Martijn Keizer.
Travveling to the Nations Cup race in the Canadian Saguanay (2.NC) already paid off in 2009 for Le Bon, back then he, being new in the U23 quite surprinsingly, took the general classification. In 2010 one had to count more easily on him. The race deciding groups went off in the first two days without Le Bon, who was the marked man of the race. But during the rain soaked third stage he showed with a determined attack on the final lap, when he resisted the attacks of the Columbians and won the stage, that Le Bon still can be banked on.
The national time trial championships brought along a bitter disappointment. For the first time Le Bon started with the elite and was accordingly motivated; he quit the Route du Sud before the last stage to be able to prepare ideally for the time trial. However; that didn’t help. The 33rd place, almost five minutes behind winner Nicolas Vogondy as well as clearly beaten by contemporaries like Geoffrey Soupe and Nicolas Bonnet, was until now probably the biggest defeat in Le Bons still young career.
Back on domestic ground of the Bretagne, that helped Le Bon to satisfaction. During the third stage of the Kreizh Breizh (2.2) triumph and grief were very close to one another. Just in the morning Le Bon learnt that his grandfathers had passed away. Him he wanted to honor with a victory. On the Mur-de-Bretagne Le Bon attacks the bunch and together with his good friend Vincent Ragot the Breton is able to hold the peloton at distance for the rest of the day. Ragot leaves a moving victory to his comrade. With a good team effort Le Bons overall lead is protected the following day – the first overall triumph in a pro race for the Breton.
In Paris – Correze (2.1), the two staged race through central France, Le Bon is again at the right place at the right time. Behind stage and overall winner Mickael Buffaz and Gianni Meersman Le Bon comes in third, defends the podium spot during the second stage and become the best young rider. Two weeks later his time trial form is right again as well - in the French time trial championships for U23 riders he misses the title by six seconds.
Emanuel Hubert, his team manager at Bretagne-Schuller, states that Le Bon is a rider of great potential, the greatest potential he ever had in one of his teams. In a few years Hubert predicts the young Breton to be one of the strongest time triallists of the Grande Nation. In 2009 Le Bon already had offers from bigger teams (such as Quick Step and Garmin), which he, advised by his father, former pro Dominique Le Bon, declined. He chooses for a gentle development at Bretagne-Schuller.
Momentarily it looks like Bretagne-Schuller will dare the step up to be a Pro Continental Team in 2011. Involved in this will be Johan le Bon, trying to cash his great potential into wins among the pros. The successes of the second half of the 2010 season should give him the confidence, that Le Bon seems to have missed in the beginning of this year.
nominated by ogkempf, virtualprofit, chreezer & wagenge, written by gardener, translated by ogkempf