Jean-René Bernadeau philosophical as Team Europcar misses out on WorldTour
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Jean-René Bernadeau philosophical as Team Europcar misses out on WorldTour

by Ben Atkins at 6:06 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
“It won’t stop us from riding,” says French team boss

europcarJean-René Bernadeau is remaining philosophical over his Europcar team's refusal of a first division WorldTour license by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The Vendée-based team was turned down in the latest round of license awards, as fellow French Professional Continental team FDJ was successful, and will remain at the sport’s second level in 2012.

"We just finished a great season but we are victims of a system of points,” said Bernadeau from the team’s training camp on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe.

Bernadeau’s team, which – as Bouygues Telecom – was one of the original twenty teams in the UCI’s original ProTour of 2005, lost its place at cycling’s top table – along with compatriot Cofidis – in 2010 when the new RadioShack and Sky teams were deemed more worthy.

2011 was the team’s best year ever, since its inception as Bonjour in 2000, with talisman Thomas Voeckler taking fourth in the Tour de France – having led the race for ten days and making the French believe it was possible to win it again – and emerging rider Pierre Rolland winning the stage to Alpe d’Huez and taking the best young riders’ white jersey.

While this was an impressive achievement, a ProConti team taking these results does not count as much as if a ProTeam had, and Rolland’s results did not count as much as one might think.

“Note that the white jersey does not earn any points,” Bernadeau explained. “We created a lot of emotion and gave happiness to people, but that doesn’t translate to points.

“There is a global hierarchy, and we respect it."

The disappointment notwithstanding, Bernadeau is now looking forward to the season ahead, where, as the biggest French ProConti team, it should be guaranteed invitations to races like the Tour.

"It will not prevent us from riding,” he said defiantly. “We managed a fabulous season at Pro Continental level and hopefully will do even better in 2012; we will be the first to ask for invitations to some WorldTour events.

“Last year, I believe that in these races – especially Paris-Nice, the Dauphine Libéré [Critérium du Dauphiné – ed] and the Tour de France – we managed rather well," he added in understatement.


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