Saur-Sojasun provides a happy French return for Brice Feillu
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Saur-Sojasun provides a happy French return for Brice Feillu

by Ben Atkins at 10:26 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Fourth team in as many years for French climber

brice feilluIt has been strongly rumoured for some time but Leopard Trek’s French climber Brice Feillu has confirmed that he is heading to Professional Continental Saur-Sojasun in 2012. The French climber, who burst onto the scene in his first full year as a professional with victory in the Andora-Arcalis stage of the 2009 Tour de France, is not part of the future plans of what will become RadioShack Nissan next season.

He confirmed to French daily La Nouvelle Republic that the French team, managed by former rider Stephane Heulot, is his destination next year.

"When they found out that the Leopard Trek team was merging with RadioShack they contacted me. I hesitated a bit, but a return to France makes me happy.”

Feillu left French Professional Continental team Agritubel when the team folded at the end of 2009 and, along with elder brother Romain, went to the ambitious Vacansoleil team. The Dutch team missed out on an invitation to the Tour de France – as well as a number of the sport’s biggest races – and this, as well as an inability to fit in with the team’s culture, saw the climber leave a year early to join the newly set up Leopard Trek team.

“Certainly it is a fourth team in four years,” he conceded over his latest move, “but the Leopard Trek team will be different next year anyway."

As a climber Feillu’s role in his new team will be to look after one of the current bid hopes for French cycling, but also has some personal ambition.

“I’ll be there to give a helping hand to Jérôme Coppel,” he explained, “and of course trying to get a few more results.”

Feillu missed out on riding the Tour de France in 2010 – with Vacansoleil’s non-invitation – and was not selected to be one of those supporting Andy Schleck’s bid for victory this year either. He was a last-minute addition to Leopard Trek’s Giro d’Italia team, following the withdrawal of sprinter Daniele Bennati, but withdrew with the rest of the team following the tragic death of Wouter Weylandt.

Missed opportunities and a number of niggling injuries mean that the French climber is looking forward to starting with his new team.

“I have a lot of aggression, I want to re-launch myself, because the year has passed too quickly,” Feillu said. “There, I feel I would be on the attack. It will be a great pleasure to go to races with this team. I am confident that with good atmosphere and with pleasure racing, it will end up paying off.”

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