Feillu Brothers to Kim Andersen's team in 2011?
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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Feillu Brothers to Kim Andersen's team in 2011?

by Jered Gruber at 1:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Move to new Luxembourg team a possibility, but Vacansoleil seeking ProTour status as well

According to De Telegraaf, Brice Feillu and Romain Feillu are dissatisfied with their Vacansoleil team and wish to move on to greener pastures in 2011. De Telegraaf claims that the new home of the brothers Feillu could be Bryan Nygaard and Kim Andersen's new team out of Luxembourg. The two would then hopefully partner with another leading brotherly duo, Frank and Andy Schleck.

While the possibility of a move to Andersen's new Luxembourg team seems a reasonable move, Vacansoleil manager, Daan Luikx, was surprised to hear the news of the potential loss of the two riders he has under contract through 2011: "I am surprised with this. I do not know if I'm open to letting them go. They have an ongoing contract through 2011."

The brothers Feillu, Brice and Romain, both success stories at the Tour de France over the past two seasons, signed with professional continental Vacansoleil after their former team, Agritubel, ceased to exist at the end of 2009. There was much hope for not only their success but of the whole team's, which includes top talents Johnny Hoogerland, Bjorn Leukemans, and Borut Bozic as well. Instead of huge success, however, the team has found mainly disappointment, especially on the sport's biggest stages. The team did not receive a Wild Card selection to the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France, or the Vuelta a Espana. The big invites did not come, nor did results from Romain or Brice. 26-year-old Romain can count a 3rd place in Stage 2 of the Ster Eletktrotoer as his top result of 2010, while his nearly 25-year-old brother, Brice, can lay claim to only two 8th place finishes: one at the GP Plumelec and the other at the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise at the end of January.

For a team with the talent and power to race for success in the Grand Tours, the three-way shutout has been tough to bear. Brice Feillu took a huge stage win in the 2009 Tour de France atop Arcalis, while brother, Romain, wore the yellow jersey for a day in 2008. The two can count real success at the Tour de France, so the absence from their home tour and the world's biggest race has tested their allegiance with the Dutch team. Needless to say, the French pair is looking for assurances in 2011.

The team of Nygaard and Andersen would provide that, but Vacansoleil has recently made it clear that they hope to move up to the ProTour level in 2011 as well. Vacansoleil head man, Daan Luijkx, recently announced on Dutch television that the team's goal for 2011 would be the ProTour. The original plan to make a move for the ProTour for Vacansoleil was 2012, but team management has found it necessary to push the timeline forward, so as to achieve the desperately needed race invitations, notably those to the Grand Tours.

Vacansoleil could be making a bid for the ProTour at just the right time, as it looks like Milram and Caisse d'Epargne could both be on the out in 2011 unless a new sponsor comes in in the waning moments of the season.



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