Clara Copponi’s tears when receiving her medal on Thursday January 11 testify to her performance. The Frenchwoman won gold in the scratch event – ​​a 10-kilometer group race – allowing the French delegation to win its first coronation at the European Track Cycling Championships, which are being held until January 14 in Apeldoorn (Netherlands).

On the eve of celebrating her 25th birthday – on January 12 – the young woman gave herself a great gift by winning the first international title of her career. “With everything I’ve been through over the last few months, it’s just incredible. I am concluding the worst period of my life, I hope,” declared the Aixoise, without saying more.

Earlier in the evening, Melvin Landerneau, European one-kilometer time trial champion in 2022, finished third in the specialty. A satisfaction for the Martinican, whose year 2023 was thwarted by a knee injury. “I arrived here a little tired after a big workload. But I knew it and this medal is really a great reward,” he told Agence France-Presse (AFP). An encouraging bronze medal for the future, although the kilometer is not part of the Olympic events.

This second day of competition also saw the duo Thomas Boudat and Donavan Grondin achieve a new podium in the American race – an event which is contested over intermediate sprints by teams of two runners. They finished second, behind the Germans Roger Kluge and Theo Reinhardt. This pair had already beaten the Tricolores during the 2022 European Championships. The French duo will however not be associated in August during the Olympic Games, one of the two places being promised to multiple world champion Benjamin Thomas.

Fourth in the medal table

On Wednesday, at the opening of the European Championships, the trio composed of Sébastien Vigier, Rayan Helal and Florian Gregbo opened the medal counter for the French team, taking second place in team speed behind the Netherlands. “It’s a reassuring medal with a good time given my health problems last week,” Sébastien Vigier analyzed for AFP. Halfway through the competition, France is fourth in the nation rankings, behind Italy, Germany and Great Britain.

Friday January 12, Mathilde Gros, 2022 world champion in the speed event, will try to win the European title. Sick and withdrew from the French championships last week, she claims to have found form. However, on Wednesday, she was not able to prevent the elimination of the Blues in the team qualification. In individual, the Lensoise won her place in the semi-final after her victory over the Polish Nikola Sibiak.

This third day of competition will also see the men’s scratch and individual pursuit finals take place. On the women’s side, we will know the outcome of the Omnium events – individual competition divided into four specialties –, in addition to the speed competitions.