This is the seventh gold medal for the France team at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Cyclist Florian Jouanny was crowned Paralympic champion on Wednesday at the end of the road race at the controls of his handcycle (category H2). This gold medal, the first for the 29-year-old Isère, who is playing his first Games in Japan, is a “Dream come true”.
“I learned while crossing the line that it was the first (gold medal, editor’s note) for the French handbike, I couldn’t believe it ”, rejoices Florian Jouanny, who writes a page of French para cycling.
An “exceptional race”
He quickly took the lead on the course arriving at Fuji Speedway and relegated his first pursuer, the Italian Luca Mazzone, in silver the day before, to more than four minutes by completing the 53 km race at 28.9 km. / h average. “I saw that I had made a small hole and I said to myself ‘I’m going for it, I’m doing fifty kilometers alone, against the clock”, “, he describes.
“He has crossed an exceptional course”, praises the manager of the French para cycling team Laurent Thirionnet. “The two guys he beats (the Italian and the Spaniard Sergio Garrote Muñoz, editor’s note), they have been flying over the discipline for two years and relegating the others to light years so he had an exceptional race. ”
Quadriplegic following a skiing accident ten years ago, Florian Jouanny retains partial mobility of his arms which allows him to compete in handbikes. This is the fourth gold medal for French para cycling in Tokyo after those of Alexandre Léauté and Dorian Foulon on the Izu velodrome track last week, then the title of the tandem Alexandre Lloveras – Corentin Ermenault on Tuesday in time trial on the road.
Another chance for a relay medal
Just after Florian Jouanny, Loïc Vergnaud came very close to winning a fifth, also in handbike (category H5). The day after his silver medal in the time trial, Loïc Vergnaud, after having lost company with his last two Dutch breakaway companions, was passed on the line by Mitch Valize, one of them, already world champion in June ahead of him.
→ READ. The Lloveras-Ermenault tandem wins a 5th French gold medal
For his first Games at 41, already furnished with two silver medals, the Roanne can collect another in relay on Friday with Florian Jouany and Riadh Tarsim.
Flag bearer of the French delegation, Stéphane Houdet was eliminated Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the wheelchair tennis singles tournament.