Francis Mourey aiming for French cyclo-cross series title
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Francis Mourey aiming for French cyclo-cross series title

by Kyle Moore at 7:31 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
FDJ rider’s World Cup focus puts him currently fourth in standings

Francis MoureyCyclo-cross fans will note the only occasional appearance by Francis Mourey (FDJ) at a big ‘cross event, but the Frenchman hopes to remain in form as he aims for a specific set of goals. After finishing fourth at the World Cup events in Plzen and Tabor so far, Mourey is currently tied for fourth in the standings with Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Revor). Vantornout’s team-mate Kevin Pauwels leads the table, ahead of Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) and Zdenek Stybar (Quick Step).

Unlike most of the top racers today, Mourey does not contest all three of the major series. The Frenchman forgoes the Superprestige and GvA series in favor of the cyclo-cross Challenge of France, along with the World Cup.

“I do not contest the Superprestige because it often falls on the same days as the National Challenge, and their organizers want me to do all the races,” Mourey explained. “It is true that I don’t face off every week with the best in the world. But I know very well where I’m going and I know everything about them (competitors). Sometimes I go to Belgium when I have a hole in my racing calendar, but a six hour drive one way and a six hour drive back, just for an hour of ‘cross, is not necessarily wise.”

With a bit of a smaller calendar, Mourey explained his training program for the season. “By February 20, I will have done 32 races,” he said. “From mid-September through October I do a lot of intense training. I was recovering from October 30 to November 14 but I still raced seven times during that span.”

Mourey used a similar racing schedule to earn the French national cyclo-cross title in 2011. He will look to do it again on January 8 in Quelneuc. “I’m able to race consistent for an hour, and compared to my French colleagues, that’s my strength,” he added.

As Mourey begins to round back into form after the period of recovery, his schedule heats up again as well. The second round of the French cyclo-cross series is Sunday, followed next weekend by the World Cup event in Koksijde, the site of the 2012 World Championships.

“So there is the Challenge race in Rodez on Sunday. The following Saturday, there is the World Cup race in Koksijde and it will be very important in preparation for the World Championships,” Mourey stated.

The French national champion will then turn his focus on the next World Cup race in Igorre, where he took a muddy and hard-fought second place in 2010. “Last year, I held the lead until the penultimate lap when I broke my derailleur and was forced to do half a lap on foot,” he added.

Acknowledging that the Koksijde course is particularly sandy, Mourey admitted that this type of course hasn’t always suited him, and wished that France could provide a similar course to use for training. But Mourey returns this year, hoping to improve on his current World Cup standing.

“For three or four years I have chosen to overlook Koksijde, but since I know the 2012 Worlds are there, I will go back. I finished fifth in 2010 and sixth in 2011 by staying up with the best. I think I have a good shot.

“The sand requires power and a different position, with your weight on the back. It is clear that the Belgians and the Dutch will benefit. I would have preferred the snow.”


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