Rider of the week
So far, 22 neo-pro managed to claim at least a win in the 2015 season, with Pierre-Roger Latour being the most recent to do this feat, in the last – and most difficult – stage of the Tour de l’Ain. After attacking on the penultimate climb of the day and giving it all, Latour kept enough in the tank to accelerate one more time on the final ascent and leave his countryman Fabrice Jeandesboz behind, thus taking home a big victory, on Lélex-Mont Jura, which helped him finish third overall, as well as notching up the U23 classification.
But who is this 21-year-old who made himself noticed long before the Tour de l’Ain? Born in the Drôme department, Pierre-Roger Latour showed his potential from early on, winning no less than four races in his first season as a cadet. Then, during his two-year spell in the Junior ranks, the lanky Frenchman scored ten wins and with each one of these confirmed that he’s poised to have a great future in the sport. For this reason, it wasn’t a surprise to see Chambéry Cyclisme Foundation – AG2R’s feeder team – offering him a contract and with it the opportunity to further develop.
As an U23 rider, Latour made steady progress and nabbed important top-10 placings in strong races as Ronde de l’Isard, Tour de l’Avenir, Tour des Pays de Savoie and even the Tour de l’Ain, where he raced as a stagiaire for AG2R, which soon put a pro contract on the table, not wanting to miss on one of the most talented young cyclists on the market. Even though is his first pro season, Latour didn’t waste time and besides the stage win in the Tour de l’Ain, he made a powerful impression in the Route du Sud, where he finished third overall, after staying with Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana on the tough Port de Balès.
Now, after a season which can be easily labed as excellent, it will be very interesting to watch Pierre-Roger Latour’s development in the years to come, as well as the way he’ll manage – hopefully, with the help of his team – the extra pressure he’ll get from the French media, now that it’s a certainty he has all that it takes to be a Grand Tour contender in the future.