Athletes using bikes as pacemakers seems to be enjoying a vogue, but in the case of Pierre-Ambroise Bosse the practice has been given a French makeover with his coach using a vélo rather than a bicycle.
This cuts out the problem of finding athletes fast enough to create fast a tempo of sufficient intensity for a quality workout. It also gives his coach Gajer Bruno an easy ride.
In Bosse’s case it certainly seems to have worked. The Frenchman possesses the second fastest 800m time in the world this year of 1:42.53 which is also a French record and makes him one of the favourites to hang gold around his neck at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich.
At the beginning of June, Bosse had a very clear idea of how he was going to impose himself on his rivals at the Europeans: “I have got to make sure I don’t let the others beat me [during the season]. If they get in front of me in one meeting they’ll get confident. I can’t let them win a single race,” he told athle.com.
All of which makes it very interesting because at the European Team Championships Super League, the Frenchman finished a surprising fourth.
He was philosophical about it, but admitted he had not played his strongest card, his speed. He might have to set his own pace in order to avoid defeats like in Braunschweig.
But in the rest of the season he has been as good as his word and not been beaten by another European.
Apart from the opposition, Bosse has another potentially bigger rival to contend with: his pollen allergy.
Before his 2014 opener in Eugene, he had been feeling under the weather for two days prior to the meeting. Then he suffered his first asthma attack which left sprinter Jimmy Vicaut, concerned: “I had an attack when I was in bed. My lungs were whistling. Poor Jimmy who was in the room at the time was afraid. But on the day of the race I was alright.”
He can say that again. He enjoyed the fastest season opener of his career of 1:44.44: “It was fine on the day. Knowing how to manage that kind of condition is part of the experience,” insisted Bosse.
His final race before Zurich was his record breaking run in Monaco where he followed home Botswanan sensation, Nijel Amos, and defeated none other than Kenyan world record holder, David Rudisha.
“Rudisha was the ideal hare,” said Bosse. “All I did was follow him. Then I just had to get into a rhythm just like I do when I am following my coach’s vélo. I did not think about times and it worked.”
Bosse attributes his improvement this season to a change of emphasis in training: “We have focussed a lot on aerobic training this year. Last year it was speed. It has been mentally very hard and I have had some difficult moments. But it has allowed me to clarify certain things.”
As for his status as one of the hot favourites for gold in Zurich he says, “I just have to accept that is the way it is.” All that remains is for the man from Nantes to confirm his status.