FDJ awarded WorldTour license for 2012
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Monday, November 21, 2011

FDJ awarded WorldTour license for 2012

by Ben Atkins at 1:42 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
French team rejoins the sports top division after one year at Professional Continental level

jeremy royThe International Cycling Union (UCI) has awarded a first division, WorldTour, license to FDJ, the French team has announced. The team, which is sponsored by the French national lottery – la Française des Jeux – was a founder member of the UCI ProTour in 2005, having been part of the sports top echelon since its founding in 1997 (when it was known by its full name), but lost out last year as other teams were deemed more worthy; BMC Racing and Vacansoleil-DCM stepped up, while new team Leopard Trek jumped straight in at the top.

The team is run, as it has been since its inception, by two-time Paris-Roubaix winner Marc Madiot.

"We are proud that our sporting results allow us to rejoin the World Tour with some particularly promising young riders,” said Madiot. “We will counting on them in the cycling team in 2012!"

As one of the biggest French teams, FDJ has been all but assured of invitations to the biggest French races, including the Tour de France, Paris-Nice, and Paris-Roubaix, but its status in the second division saw it miss out on many of those abroad, including the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España.

Although it was one of the most aggressive teams in races like the Tour, where its iconic white, blue and red four-leaf clover jersey could be seen on the attack on virtually every stage, it was its success in lesser races that gave FDJ its position in the top twenty performing teams of 2011. In all the French team won 28 races, including the French season-opener the GP d’Ouverture La Marseillaise and a number of prestigious events like Paris-Camenbert and the Coppa Bernocchi; FDJ ended the year as European Continental champions.

Another victory for the team came when its stagiaire Arnaud Demare – clad in the blue, white and red of the French national team – won the World under-23 road race, ahead of compatriot Adrien Petit [who now rides for Cofidis – ed]; Demare is one of those young riders on whom Madiot will be counting in 2012.

As well as a number of young riders, FDJ also boasts one of French cycling’s oldest, in Frédéric Guesdon. The forty-year-old has been with the team since its beginning in 1997, when he took the team’s biggest ever victory in Paris-Roubaix; he remains the last Frenchman to do so and will finally hang up his wheels after this coming April’s race.

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