Jean-René Bernadeau feels the WorldTour Schedule is too busy for Europcar
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Saturday, October 06, 2012

Jean-René Bernadeau feels the WorldTour Schedule is too busy for Europcar

by Ben Atkins at 9:57 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
French ProConti team’s manager explains decision not to apply for ProTeam status in 2013

thomas voecklerDespite having some of the biggest names in French cycling in his roster, Europcar team manager Jean-René Bernadeau is still not ready to step back up to WorldTour level. After almost having disappeared altogether at the end of 2010, when he was having problems securing a replacement for then name-sponsor Bbox Bouygues Telecom, Europcar has eclipsed its national rivals in the race that really counts for a French team.

Thomas Voeckler’s fourth place in the 2011 Tour de France was the best finish for a Frenchman in more than a decade, and he followed it up this year with a two stage victories and the polka-dot jersey; while prodigious talent Pierre Rolland lived up to his Alpe d’Huez victory and white jersey of 2011 - after a difficult start to the race - with another marquee Alpine stage victory this year.

Despite this, Bernadeau has no intention of reclaiming the International Cycling Union International Cycling Union (UCI) top table that he lost at the end of 2009.

"In sporting terms, our record is good and we are among the 20 best teams in the world,” he said. “We would have been accepted into the WorldTour.”

It’s pragmatism that stops the Frenchman from applying however, with the demands of the WorldTour calendar being "too heavy and loaded" for the Vendée-based team.

"For a team of 25 riders like ours, it is difficult to support the weight of the World Tour calendar,” he explained. “We do not have a sufficient volume of riders,"

Rather than over-exert his budget, Bernadeau prefers to let the quality of his stars speak for itself and, while the team is all-but guaranteed wildcard invitations to all the biggest French races - including the Tour - he fully expects to be invited to the foreign races he wants.

“We are very confident for 2013,” said Bernadeau. “We intend to be present at Tirreno-Adriatico, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Ronde van Vlaanderen.”

Bernadeau has been signing riders for 2013; not in the multi-million Euro fashion of some of the other French teams however, but bringing on young French riders, including new French hope Bryan Coquard - silver medallist in both the London 2012 Omnium, and the World championship under-23 road race - from Europcar’s feeder team Vendée-U.

“We are the only team to appear in the global hierarchy without recruiting and we are very proud to produce our own champions,” Bernadeau said.

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