Arnaud Démare dedicated his victory in Sunday’s inaugural RideLondon-Surrey Classic to his coach, who died in June.
47-year-old Hervé Boussard, a Olympic team time trial bronze medalist in 1992, passed away from an epileptic seizure three days after the French road race championships.
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Boussard had coached Démare since he was a junior, and the FDJ rider said his influence propelled him to the win on The Mall.
“With 100m to go, I felt the other riders coming back at me. I thought of Hervé and that gave me the strength to stay ahead,” he said.
“I have to thank him, as without his help, I would not have achieved my dreams of becoming an under-23 World Champion in 2011 and then signing a professional contract.
“I saw his children at the end of July, and they told me I needed to keep winning for him.”
This was the 21-year-old sprinter’s seventh victory of 2013 – only his second outside his native country – and he thanked his team-mates for their astute tactics throughout.
He said: “There was always an FDJ rider in breakaway today. We were not sure before the race if it would end in a sprint, so Yoann [Offredo] and Dominique [Rollin] took the initiative brilliantly.
“In the finale, Mickaël Delage and Geoffroy Soupe did tremendous work and delivered me to the final 200 metres.”
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