He took the yellow jersey for the first time in his career when the race finished in Nantes yesterday. But who is Romain Feillu…?
Romain Feillu is a 24-year-old from Chateaudun, which is to the east of Le Mans. He has a younger brother, Brice, who is a promising amateur.
He was the silver medallist in the under-23 road race at the 2006 World Championships in Salzburg. The winner that day was Gerald Ciolek, now of Team Columbia. Mark Cavendish was 11th.
In 2007 he turned pro for the French Agritubel team and first made an impression by finishing fourth in the one-day Grand Prix Cholet in April. Victory in the Boucles de l’Aulne and a stage of the Tour of Luxembourg clinched him a place in the Tour de France.
Two fifth places in the first week’s bunch sprints (at Canterbury and Ghent) showed he wasn’t afraid to mix it. At the time he told Cycling Weekly: “I enjoy being up the front and I like fighting for position.”
British fans will probably know him best for his dramatic overall victory in last year’s Tour of Britain.
He had an excellent week and was well-placed every day, taking third place at Taunton, fourth at Bradford and another third at Kendal.
It was in the intermediate sprints that he pinched overall victory by the narrowest of margins from Spaniard Adrian Palomares.
This spring he was ill when he contracted the parasitic illness toxoplasmosis.
When it became clear he was going to take the yellow jersey on Monday’s stage to Nantes, Feillu said he put thoughts of winning the stage to the back of his mind.
“I knew the yellow jersey was mine because I was best-placed of us four,” he said. “Then you have to make a decision. I chose to ride even though it meant I had less chance of winning the stage.
“I have a lead of 1-52 over [Fabian] Cancellara. Will it be enough? I don’t know, but it’s better than having one minute or less.”
Feillu only the eighth Frenchman this decade to wear the yellow jersey. The others are Cyril Dessel in 2006, Thomas Voeckler in 2004, Jean-Patrick Nazon and Richard Virenque in 2003, Christophe Moreau and Francois Simon in 2001 and Laurent Jalabert in 2000.
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