Chavanel in 2014
|Full name||Sylvain Chavanel|
|Nickname||Chava, Mimosa, La Machine|
|Born||30 June 1979|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Weight||70 kg (154 lb; 11 st 0 lb)|
Sylvain Chavanel Brioches La Boulangère/Direct Énergie team. His brother Sébastien Chavanel also rode as a professional cyclist. Sylvain Chavanel was noted as a strong all-rounder who won both sprints and time-trials, and was a good northern classics rider, taking 45 wins during his professional career.(born 30 June 1979) is a French former professional road bicycle racer, who rode professionally between 2000 and 2018 for the Cofidis, Omega Pharma–Quick-Step, IAM Cycling and two spells with the
Chavanel was born in Châtellerault, France, although his family roots are in Spain. His great-grandparents were from Huesca, in the Aragon region. His grandfather was born in Barcelona and moved to Châtellerault during the Spanish Civil War. Other members of the family still live in Aragon. – just swear words".He said: "Last year , when the Vuelta was in Zaragoza, I got to know the cousin of mine using a journalist as the translator and she gave me a picture of my grandfather when he was young. Despite my origins, I hardly know a word of Spanish
As a child he played in the garden with models of racing cyclists. He said:
Chavanel began cycling at Châtellerault school when he was eight. He gave up to try football, then went back.
He began racing when he was 13. He won 29 races on the road as a schoolboy and a junior. He won the national junior individual pursuit championship in 1997. His uncle, Philippe Raby, a former rider in the Vendée region, recommended him to Jean-René Bernaudeau who was building a professional team based there. Bernardeau saw Chavanel race for the first time at Montreveau, in Maine-et-Loire, when he was racing against riders from Bernardeau's Vendée U junior team.
Bernardeau and Chavanel agreed that Chavanel would spend another year with his club, AC Châtellerault, which had spent time and money on his training. Bernardeau's assistant, Thierry Bricau, was given the job of providing Chavanel with a training programme. Chavanel rode the Tour de l'Avenir in 1999 and then in 2000, aged 21, he turned professional for Bernardeau's Bonjour team, sponsored by a chain of local newspapers. He won the first stage of the Circuit Franco-Belge and lost his leader's jersey only on the last day. He also won the climbers' jersey in the Tour de l'Avenir by breaking clear in the Pyrenees and rode 217 kilometres (135 miles) alone at the front of Paris–Tours.
Chavanel rode his first Tour de France at 22, finishing 65th, later coming third in the Tour de l'Avenir behind Denis Menchov and Florent Brard. In 2002 he won the Four Days of Dunkirk and finished third in the Tour of Belgium. He later won both of those races in 2005.
On 25 July 2008 Chavanel won the 19th stage of the Tour de France by outsprinting Jérémy Roy at Montluçon. That and other performances brought him election as the most combative rider of the race.
On 3 September 2008, he came second in the individual time trial stage of the Vuelta a España at Ciudad Real. His ride brought him to second place overall, two seconds slower than the American, Levi Leipheimer. His team worked for him next day from Ciudad Real to Toledo to make sure he won time bonuses offered along the route. The six seconds he collected were enough to give him the leader's jersey on 4 September.
Chavanel said in 2007 that he had had offers from foreign teams but was discouraged from joining them because he was unsure of his pension payments outside France. In July 2008 he said he had agreed with Patrick Lefevere the directeur sportif to join the Quick-Step team in Belgium for 2009. Chavanel said he made his decision to move after riding well in classic races in Belgium at the start of the year.He won Dwars door Vlaanderen and the Brabantse Pijl. He said:
During the 2010 Tour de France, Chavanel took over the yellow jersey after attacking at the 10-kilometre (6.2-mile) mark on stage 2. Following a series of crashes affecting the General Classification contenders on the descent into Spa, the race was neutralized for every rider except Chavanel, who was the lone escapee at that time. He capitalized on that, opening up enough of a gap to win the stage and capture the yellow jersey from Fabian Cancellara (Team Saxo Bank). The following stage was not so good for Chavanel as two punctures on the cobbled roads meant Fabian Cancellara re-took the yellow jersey, however on the Tour's first mountain stage from Tournus to Station des Rousses Chavanel bridged the gap to an early breakaway and rode away to take a famous win and inherit the yellow jersey for the second time.
In the 2011 Vuelta a España Chavanel held the red leader's jersey for four stages. On stage three, as part of a breakaway, he finished second behind Pablo Lastras which left him second in general classification, 20 seconds behind Lastras.However, on the next stage Chavanel finished just 57 seconds behind the stage winner while Lastras lost over 18 minutes, thereby making Chavanel the overall leader of the Vuelta. He held this jersey until stage 8 where it was taken by Joaquim Rodríguez.
In 2012, Chavanel won the Three Days of De Panne and won the French National Time Trial Championships for the fourth time.
In 2013, after strong appearances in the Tour de San Luis and the Volta ao Algarve, Chavanel won stage six of Paris–Nice,taking the points classification at the race. Chavanel also won the overall classification at the Three Days of De Panne for the second year in a row, winning the final time trial stage.
After five years with the team, Chavanel left the squad at the end of the 2013 season,and joined IAM Cycling for the 2014 season.
After winning the National Time trial title, Chavanel went on to win the 2014 Tour du Poitou-Charentes thanks to a great performance in the stage 4 time trial.A couple of days later, Chavanel topped a very successful week as he prevailed in the World Tour race GP Ouest-France by winning the sprint out of a small group ahead of Arthur Vichot. In 2015 he also accomplished the impressive feat of starting and finishing each Grand Tour.
In September 2015 Direct Énergie announced that Chavanel would join them for the 2016 season.In 2018, Chavanel participated in the Tour de France for the 18th time to take the record outright from Stuart O'Grady and Jens Voigt for the most Tour de France participations and was given the most combative rider award for the second stage. On 26 July 2018, Chavanel finished Stage 18 of the race to become the man with the biggest number of stages completed - overtaking Joop Zoetemelk's 365. 3 days later, he tied Zoetemelk's record of finishing the Tour de France 16 times. On the last day of the race, 29 July, he announced he would retire after Tour de Vendée on 6 October 2018. He extended his career to the following week's Chrono des Nations before retiring.
Chavanel is known as Chava,Mimosa or Mimo, after a French film character he imitates. In the Dutch-speaking Belgian media, he is often nicknamed 'La Machine' for his outstanding stamina and determination.
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