World champion Sicard determined to move forward
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

World champion Sicard determined to move forward

by Conal Andrews at 7:17 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Under 23 world road race champion Romain Sicard is close to beginning his first season with a ProTour team, the 21-year-old is counting down the days until he begins with the Euskaltel Euskadi team.

Sicard soloed to a dominant victory in Mendrisio in September, capping off a season where he won the Subida al Naranco, the Plateau de Beille mountain stage of the Ronde de l'Isard and the Tour de l’Avenir. Those achievements mark him out as the most promising young French rider in years, but he wants to look forward, not back. Continuing to achieve is important to him, and so he’s determined not to simply live on past achievements.

"I took several weeks of rest at my home in the Basque country and that allowed me to reflect on these events,” he said in an interview with Velo-club.net. “Then I was able to realise the impact it [the world title] had and the importance of these two victories.

“[However] I don’t want to build on the achievements of 2009. This was an excellent season with incredible memories, but I think it is important to move on and actually reset the counters to zero. I'll reach a much higher level. I must first of all learn and continue my progression. Anyway, when you resume training, you quickly come back to reality. Cycling and elite sport have just one truth, that of hard work.”

Sicard was racing with the Orbea team this year and his strong showings early on earned him a pro deal with its senior team, Euskaltel Euskadi. It normally signs only riders from the Basque region in Spain; Sicard comes from Bayonne in France, but this is also considered part of the Basque area, extending as it does across the border.

He’s perhaps more Basque than French in nature, but is still unsure as to why he hasn’t been shown more interest by French teams. “I don’t know [why that is],” he ponders. “Perhaps it’s not me who is best to explain that. Last year [2008], as an amateur, perhaps my results were not good enough and sufficiently regular. But unfortunately I’m not alone in experiencing this problem. I know some riders who have lots of class, who have achieved excellent results over several years, but who have not had even one contact with professional teams.

“I think at the espoir level, the level of French riders is very similar. I won the Tour de l’Avenir and the world championship, but it could perhaps have been another French rider. Getting these results is also thanks to the general high level…without my team-mates, I could not have won. I owe them a lot in getting these two results, and I am not alone in having good results. France also won the Nations Cup for espoir riders. It was there throughout the season; there was the victory in Saguenay, Val d'Aosta, the other two stage victories in the Tour de l'Avenir and many other wins or high placings. Don’t forget that. There are so many young French riders who are very strong internationally, at the Espoir level.”

Sicard pays tribute to Orbea, saying that the team guided him and helped him to keep developing. “I’m really lucky that it opened its doors,” he admits. “I tell myself that without that, I’d probably not be here, that in 2010 I might still have been an amateur.”

He is a strong climber and time trialist, and is also a successful track rider. He has a clear idea of what races suit him, but feels that he needs to try different events to see how he will fare as a pro.

“I would say that so far at my level, the events I enjoy most are actually the stage races. I'm more a rouleur-climber than a sprinter, that’s true, but as I said, everything will be different now. I hope to do several different types of good races and then see what suits me best.”

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