Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) wins his fifth French cyclocross championship.

Agence France Presse

Francis Mourey (Française des Jeux) won his fifth French cyclocross championship on Sunday in Lievin.

Mourey took the victory in a two-up sprint against Steve Chainel (Bouygues Telecom) with Nicolas Bazin (CC Villeneuve-Saint-Germain) collecting the bronze.

After the finish, the 29-year-old Mourey went to comfort Chainel, 26, who lay collapsed on the icy circuit. “For an hour, he is my enemy. Once the line is crossed, he becomes my friend,” said Mourey.

Mourey had built a lead of some 25 seconds in the first half of the race only to lose it to a puncture. But he fought back up to Chainel and Bazin, who was dropped shortly thereafter, and then overpowered Chainel in the uphill sprint to the line, made more difficult by a headwind.

Mourey now has his sights set on the world cyclocross championships January 31 in Tabor, Czech Republic.

“The goal is the podium — and the first step!” he said.