Friday Feature EXCLUSIVE: Up close & personal with Geoffroy Lequatre (part 1)

Name: Geoffroy Lequatre

Age:  30

Nationality: French

Team: Bretagne-Schuller

Role: Team leader and classics rider

2011 World Tour ranking: 218


Twitter: @LequatreG4

Career highlights:

  • Credit Agricole Espoirs (2002-3): won 2002 GP de la Ville Perenchies, 3rd at 2002 Paris-Tours U23
  • Credit Agricole (2004-5): 7th overall at 2004 Tour du Limousin
  • Cofidis (2006-7): 4th at 2006 Paris-Bourges 2006, 8th in stage 15 of 2007 Vuelta a Espana, 6th overall at 2007 Etoile de Besseges, 7th overall at 2007 Volta ao Algarve
  • Agritubel (2008–9): won overall at 2008 Tour of Britain, 2nd in stage 5 of 2008 Circuit Cycliste Sarthe 2008, 2nd in stage 2 of 2008 Clasica Internacional a Alcobendas y Collada Villalba
  • RadioShack (2010-11): 4th in stage 5 of 2010 Tour of Belgium, 3rd at 2010 Classica Sarda, 3rd in individual time trial at 2011 French National Championships, 9th overall at 2011 Tour of Austria, 7th at 2011 Paris-Tours

In part one of my exclusive interview I’m going to be chatting to Geoffroy about his G4 Dimension clothing line, his recent experiences riding with Lance as part of Team RadioShack and his own comeback from two serious crashes. In part two we’ll be looking at his race programme for 2012, his favourite races and getting a few tips from him as to how he maintains his svelte physique.

In all professional sports there’s a fair amount of travelling, waiting around and generally hanging about, either before or after the sporting action. Geoffroy Lequatre uses his down-time to think about designs for his line of cycling and casual clothes G4 Dimension which he launched with his long-term partner, Petra, in September 2010.

Sheree: How and when did you become interested in designing clothes and what was the impetus to launch your own range?

Geo: It was always a hobby of mine to draw, paint, and design logos, customise jeans and other items of clothing. My friends and family said to me “Why don’t you create your own clothing line?” So I decided to do it, to create something new, fresh, and fashionable. And so G4 was born in September 2010. And for sure I need a great and fantastic partner and great people around me. They do the toughest part of this job, of this project. I can’t thank them enough.

Sheree: What would you say differentiates your clothing from others in the market place and generally how has it been received?

Geo: Everyone has reacted very positively to the creation of my own clothing line and we’ve received a lot of recognition in only our first year. People like the designs allied to the quality. We’re proud to have a positive impact after our first collection. I think our brand has been launched on the right path.

Geoffroy in G4 kit

Sheree: What are your future plans for the development of the line? Can you tell us about them?

Geo: Of course, we have plenty of ambitions. In 2012, we would like to be present at more bike races. We want to do more exhibitions, work on our showroom and expand our marketing. Next on the agenda will be the design and development of new, really high-tech products, and also getting a women’s collection to run alongside our men’s one. In addition, we want to increase brand awareness, to reach more potential fans who we hope to convert to G4 clients.

Sheree: We’ll be sure to keep a close eye on developments at G4.

Frankly, it’s a shame that more of the professional teams don’t avail themselves of Geoffroy’s undoubted expertise and flair to add that touch of ‘je ne sais quoi’ to their team kit.

Friend Nico Roche wearing specially designed G4 pop shirt

Geo: Yes, frankly I think the same. I can tell them right now, if they need my help to design and create something new and fresh, they can contact me! I hope they will wake up one day and ask my opinion about their existing designs and canvass my opinion both as a professional athlete and as a professional designer! I live my life for both things, so I know what I am speaking about.

Geoffroy’s thrown down the gauntlet. It’ll be interesting if anyone take’s him up on his offer. We can all think of plenty of potential candidates.

Geoffroy rode for three French teams (Credit Agricole, Cofidis, and Agritubel) before joining Team RadioShack in 2010.

Sheree: How would you summarise your experience at RadioShack? Are there any takeaways from riding with the team that you’d like to share with us?

Geo: I will treasure these two years, of course, because it was a new experience for me. It was a pleasure to meet and work with some great guys and great riders from all over the world. Team RadioShack had people from over 22 different nations. So it was a rich cultural mix. Another thing, I was given responsibility. Each of us had autonomy and responsibility. I enjoyed this way of working.

Sheree: What was it like riding with Lance Armstrong?

Geo: I had a nice experience working with Lance. I rode with him in Tour of Flanders 2010. It was my responsibility to stay close, look after him, protect him as much as possible and deliver him into the final stretch. It’s one of my abiding memories of my time with Team RadioShack. He also gave me the opportunity to design some t-shirts for the RadioShack web store. That was nice of him!

This year, with the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt in the Giro and Juan Mauricio Soler’s probably career ending crash in the Tour of Switzerland, we’ve all been forcibly reminded that cycling’s a dangerous sport. Geoffroy has had his own share of serious crashes. In 2005, while descending in the GP Hamburg, he hit a pole and suffered multiple facial fractures. In 2007, he was awarded an extraordinary combativity prize for finishing stage five of the 2007 Tour de France with terrible injuries to his legs and hands but was unable to leave his hospital bed to accept the award.

Sheree: Having suffered yourself from a couple of very serious crashes can you tell us how you managed to put the memories aside and continue racing?

Geo: Crashes sadly are part of cycling. Sometimes, they’re just little crashes, other times they’re bad. You just have to accept that it’s part of the job. Of course, when it happens, it’s never easy to accept and you tend to fight against the reality. But it’s clear that I found within myself the power to train again and to be competitive once more. My comeback was for me, to prove to myself – not others – that my career wasn’t over and I could win again. A victory after this kind of crash is more than a trophy. It’s like the sun shining again.

We’ll be bringing you part two of our interview with Geoffroy Lequatre next week, when we’ll also be announcing how you can win something from his exciting G4 Collection of casual clothes and high performance cycling kit. Stay tuned!

9 thoughts on “Friday Feature EXCLUSIVE: Up close & personal with Geoffroy Lequatre (part 1)

  1. Sheree says:

    Thanks Geo, we’re all looking forward to part two of the interview which will be published next Friday along with the competition to win a piece from the fabulous G4 collection. Sadly members of Velovoices, their families and all close associates are barred from playing.
    Will you want a piece of cake with your coffee next week?

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