Romain Sicard’s road back begins at Santos Tour Down Under
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Monday, December 19, 2011

Romain Sicard’s road back begins at Santos Tour Down Under

by Shane Stokes at 7:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour Down Under
 
Euskaltel-Euskadi rider on way back after recent arrest

Romain SicardRomain Sicard has an early chance to show his Euskaltel Euskadi team that he means business after a poor 2011 season and recent police arrest when he lines out in next month’s Santos Tour Down Under. The 2009 world under 23 champion will join six Spanish team-mates in the squad for the race, and will see it as a new start.

Also talking part for the Basque squad will be Gorka Izagirre, Victor Cabedo, Pablo Urtasun, Ruben Perez, Adrián Sáez de Arregui and Ricardo Garcia.

Sicard’s opportunity to start on a new path comes after a very frustrating past few months. He suffered with tendonitis early on during last season and then developed a muscle imbalance in his right leg. He pulled out of Paris-Nice, the Volta a Catalunya, the Tour du Poitou Charentes et de la Vienne, the GP Ouest France, plus the Grand Prix de Québec and Montréal.

The disappointment came to a head in early November when Sicard was arrested by French police in Toulouse. He was seen by police trying to put a traffic sign into his car. The officers checked his vehicle and found a orange traffic cone inside. Sicard declined to give his identity, was breath tested and found to be over the limit. He was subsequently taken into custody by the police.

Responding to the incident, the Euskaltel Euskadi team said it was taking the matter seriously and would be ‘strict in the implementation of its internal code.’ Sicard subsequently apologised to the team, and resolved to return to strong form. “I have realized the need to have impeccable behaviour,” he said. “I look towards the future and I hope that through my sporting feats I will help you forget this episode.”

A good showing in the Santos Tour Down Under would be the perfect start to that resolution. His world title and 2009 Tour de l’Avenir victory make it clear that the young Frenchman is very talented; providing he’s over his injuries and is fully committed, he should impress in 2012.

Race director Mike Turtur believes that the team has been taking things very seriously in its build-up for the race. “We know Romain Sicard, Gorka Izagirre, Pablo Urtasun and Ruben Perez have abandoned the bad weather in Northern Spain by moving to the Costa Blanca to train,” he said. “This is with the objective of starting the 2012 season in good form, so it will be interesting to see what impact this has.”

Sicard’s palmares mark him out as one to watch, but so too Izagirre. He rode the race earlier this year and placed a fine twelfth overall.

“Izagirre made his Tour de France debut this year at the age of 23, establishing himself in a five man breakaway on stage four. He will be one to watch in 2012,” said Turtur.

García, Cabedo and Sáez de Arregui may well end up playing a supporting role. The former Orbea Continental team riders are new to the squad, and will make their professional debuts in Australia.

The Santos Tour Down Under is the first race on the UCI’s WorldTour calendar, and will feature all of the top teams. It runs from January 15 – 22nd.


Euskaltel-Euskadi team for Santos Tour Down Under:

Romain Sicard (FRA)
Gorka Izagirre (ESP)
Victor Cabedo (ESP)
Pablo Urtasun (ESP)
Ruben Perez (ESP)
Adrián Sáez de Arregui (ESP)
Ricardo Garcia (ESP)

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