Christophe Le Mevel hoping to feature in the Tour de Pologne
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Monday, July 09, 2012

Christophe Le Mevel hoping to feature in the Tour de Pologne

by Kyle Moore at 8:18 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Poland
 
would rather be in France but could be suited to arduous, rolling week in Poland

Christophe Le MevelAfter racing often and pulling in decent results in his first season with Garmin-Sharp in 2011, Christophe Le Mevel’s 2012 has been a bit sparse in comparison. But the Frenchman will be looking to turn his fortunes around when the Tour of Poland kicks off on Tuesday for a week of difficult stage racing.

This year’s edition of the Polish showcase has been moved up in the calendar, so as not to clash with the Olympics, and race organizers are touting it as a proper warm up to the London games, as well as a proper sidekick to the Tour de France.

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) took the overall victory in 2011 ahead of Dan Martin (Garmin-Sharp), and though the Slovak sensation is now racing in France, the 2012 course would not have been as likely to suit him.

Instead, it could suit punchy, veteran climbers such as Le Mevel. After racing the Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a España last season, but missing out on the Tour de France, Le Mevel has been less used this season with the continued emergence of other stage racing talent on the American team. He wasn’t at the Giro during Ryder Hesjedal’s run to the title, and was again unable to score an invite to his home Grand Tour. Now the Frenchman is hoping to prove his condition in Poland and show himself worthy of a spot at the Vuelta.

“I did the Tour of Poland last year, in edition to two appearances with Crédit Agricole. It will be hard from day one, but the most challenging stage will be on Sunday [192km of hilly circuits – ed.],” Le Mevel told L’Equipe. “I’m going to race it as before, and be at the forefront of all the difficult stages. I want to be ready every day to get a good result overall. I have not raced since the Critérium du Dauphiné, so I’ll see where I am, but I’m not too worried since I’ve gotten a good foundation in training. I’ll be a little protected, along with Andrew Talansky and Fabian Wegmann.”

Though he remained diplomatic, Le Mevel admitted a fair amount of disappointment at missing his second straight Tour de France.

“I learned about it two weeks before the Tour,” he continued. “There is always disappointment when there is no selection, but the team made its choice. I knew I would not be in great shape at the Dauphiné [where he finished 44th overall – ed.], but I had to ramp it up. Here I watch the race on TV, and it’s a bit hard.

“Team Garmin has not had much luck – it looks very difficult and very nervous. Looking at the last stages, I got the itch. I am very happy for Thibaut Pinot, as I knew him well when we were together at Française des Jeux.”

With his contract up at the end of the season, Le Mevel has his mind on his programme for the remainder of it. Although ultimately, he has his sights set on getting back to the Tour de France, which may take a contract with a new team to accomplish.

“I continue on to the Tour de l’Ain,” the 31-year-old said of his upcoming schedule. “I could be selected for the Vuelta, but that is not yet done. It could be a good race for me, since there are many mountains, but if I am no longer [on the team] in 2013, it is not sure if I will be selected. It does not necessarily depend on my results at the Tour of Poland. The team knows what I am capable of, and they know why they hired me.

“I must think about my future,” Le Mevel admitted. “I do not regret any of my commitment with Garmin, it’s a great experience and I appreciate the team. But I am French and the Tour de France remains the goal that I dream about. Garmin is a very big team and I know that if I stay here, it will be difficult to race the Tour next year. I will not take the risk to miss a third consecutive year.”

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