Paris-Nice: On March 12, 1988, Patrice Esnolt of Orleans defeated Bruno Cornelite at the finish line in Mandalay-La-Napole.

Paris-Nice : le 12 mars 1988, l’Orléanais Patrice Esnault s’impose, au finish, devant Bruno Cornillet à Mandelieu-la-Napoule

Patrice Esnolt is now 60 years old The only rider from Orleans and Lorette who had a stage success in the movie “Paris-Nice”.

Back on the roads of Col du Tanneron and its environs, the online stage between Saint-Tropez and Mandelieu-la-Napoule (Alpes-Maritimes) became a personal time trial. Patrice Esnolt, front. Bruno Cornelight, just behind, about twenty seconds. It was one of the highlights of an edition of Sean Kelly’s Irish pass, which won the event seven times in a row between 1982 and 1988. A record!

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Where?On the Tanneron side. “The weather was not terrible then,” recalls Patrice Esnolt. “I was attacked too early, and then I’m gone … Bruno Cornelius came out too. We both escaped, and we completed the ascent of Tanneron before heading down to Mandalay-La-Napole.”

Orleans will make that clear from the beginningHad completed a “third” in the same course the previous season. So “a stage that suits me well. A difficult day with ups and downs”. On this kind of track, the Peloton who follows behind always has “difficulties in organizing and getting started”.

when ?In the final. It was a stage back then, but Patrice Esnolt remembers an extraordinary finale. In front of him. Cornillet (Z-Peugeot team), a few hundred meters …

His victory was shaped by the last forty kilometers. Later it became a personal time. Suddenly I was eighteen seconds ahead. Another, twenty! I turned around and saw him right behind me. Bruno Cornelius, it’s been a while since I’ve met him again.

Want to comment?Not a coincidence. “I planned my attack, my attack in advance.”, Patrice Esnolt insists. “I went alone, I won alone. That’s it. That’s the summary of the day …”

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Arriving there, Jean-Luc Vandenbrook, a member of the technical staff of the Belgian team “Lotto”, immediately criticized the waiting attitude of his riders and said to them: “You knew Esnolt was going to attack. Did you not go with him?

With a knife that could turn everything around, I still have a fond memory of the Orleans resident who remembers the last kilometers of the complex … “We were at full speed with Cornelius. I did not get up. I did not allow him to go back.”

Why ?Proud success. So RMO Team Rider, Patrice Esnolt remembers Paris-Nice as a “benchmark” event. Just like “Dauphine and the Tour de France”. That’s why we tried to differentiate ourselves there. Paris-Nice said, “That was a goal, because we have a very limited range of major competitions and we could not miss it.” Today, the calendar has expanded to “international level”.


Patrice Esnolt was born on June 12, 1961 (age 60) in Orleans.
Pro Rider from 1985 to 1994.
Major Pro Achievements:
– Grand Prix du Midi Libre, 1987.
– April 1990 Tour of Spain stage victory between Almeria – Sierra Nevada (198 km).

Laurent Corsimolt

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