The series continues. It’s going on the road. After rowing, table tennis, swimming, skateboarding and BMX, gymnastics and goalball, then sailing, FrancsJeux continues its tour of the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines of the Paris 2024 Games. Every other week, the organising committee’s sport managers have the opportunity to speak. Frenchwoman Anne Le Page (photo above), in charge of cycling and para-cycling, the third sport on the Games programme in terms of number of athletes and medals, takes the floor.
FrancsJeux: What was your life like before the Paris 2024 OCOG?
Anne Le Page: I was director of sports activities at the French Cycling Federation (FFC), a position I held for five years until I joined the OCOG. Before that, I worked for the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines urban community, where I was in charge of major events and sports facilities, including the National Velodrome.
What is your past experience of the Olympic Games?
It is recent, since it goes back to the Tokyo 2020 Games. I had already joined the Paris 2024 OCOG, for which I was able to participate in the observer programme. For three weeks, I experienced the Games from the inside, at all the cycling venues and in each of the disciplines. I was able to interact on a daily basis with my colleagues and counterparts from the UCI and the Japanese organising committee.
What do you remember most about the Games?
Not just one, but two memories, very distant in time. The first is the opening ceremony of the 1992 Albertville Winter Games. The second is recent, and concerns the Tokyo 2020 Games. The presence of spectators during cycling’s first road event, the road race, was a surprise to everyone. Seeing the Japanese crowd along the course, even though the Games were otherwise held behind closed doors, was a very emotional moment for all involved.
Which file is at the top of the pile on your desk?
There are two files that are keeping me very busy at the moment. The first is the construction of the mountain bike track on the hill of Elancourt, in the Yvelines. Its development has now been launched. The second concerns the road events. We are preparing the validation of the Olympic and Paralympic race courses. To do this, we have to meet with the municipalities concerned. The process takes time and is very strategic. We are finalising the meetings with the municipalities and with the UCI. The final validation will be done by the UCI.
The cycling venues: their assets, the challenges in the perspective of the Games?
With its many disciplines, cycling will be contested in a large number of venues. Some of them are among the most iconic of the venues, for which we have to work very hard, especially as they are shared with other disciplines: the Esplanade des Invalides for the start of the time trial, shared with archery; the Pont Alexandre III for the finish of the time trial, a site shared with triathlon; and finally the Pont d’Iena, a site shared with race walking, used for the road race. To this must be added the Place de la Concorde, the urban sports venue, for BMX freestyle. The Vélodrome national in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, for track and BMX racing, already exists, but we treat it as a single site. The Elancourt hill is being built to host the mountain bike events, where we want to present some very good races and leave a legacy after the Games. Finally, the road race routes will cross a large number of municipalities. The challenge will be to engage the population of the cities involved as much as possible.
Paris 2024 will be a success for cycling if…
With our seven Olympic and Paralympic disciplines, we hope to make the Paris 2024 Games unforgettable for everyone involved in the event. The athletes, of course, but also the volunteers, the public and the organisation. Everyone must be able to participate fully in the adventure, in their own role, with the desire to contribute to the building.