Tour de France stars Chavanel and Pineau extend until 2011 with Quick Step team
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tour de France stars Chavanel and Pineau extend until 2011 with Quick Step team

by Conal Andrews at 9:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
 
French riders have an additional twelve month option

Quick StepWhile he was winning two stages and wearing the yellow jersey of race leadership in this year’s Tour de France, speculation was rife that Sylvain Chavanel would be returning to race with a French team from 2011 onwards. However the 31 year old has decided to stay at least one more year with the Quick Step team, as has his compatriot Jérôme Pineau.

The agreement was signed today in Pau, with both riders opting for a twelve month extension plus an option for 2012.

Team manager Patrick Lefevere has the two Frenchmen to thank for saving his Tour after Tom Boonen was unable to take part, and is clearly delighted to have reached an agreement with them.

“Sylvain and Jérôme are two riders who are very important to the economy of our squad,” he stated. “Both have integrated themselves perfectly into the team thanks to their human relations skills. Sylvain is a complete rider and has proven himself on the northern roads, during the classics and in important stage races, most recently this year’s Tour de France. After sustaining injuries in the Liege Bastogne Liege we were afraid that his Tour would be at risk. Instead Sylvain called me right away and told me to reserve a place for him, that I wouldn’t regret it. He was right, and he’s repaid our faith with important results.”

Chavanel crashed during the Classic and fractured his skull, yet returned to those same roads on stage two and seized the yellow jersey with a superb solo victory into Spa. He again raced alone to glory on stage seven to Station des Rouses and, like before, took a brief lead at the top of the general classification. The performances followed on from his first Tour stage win two years ago.

“I’m really happy I’ll be staying with this team,” he said, explaining the reason for his decision. “Here I feel like I’m surrounded by people who have faith in me. Tranquillity and serenity are essential to reaching important targets like the two prestigious victories in the Tour. The fact that Jerome stays with me is just one more reason to celebrate.”

Pineau is a year younger than Chavanel and is having his best season to date, winning stage five in the Giro and the combativity award on stage seven, and leading the mountains competition for several stages at this Tour de France. He gets on well with his compatriot and remaining on the same team was a factor in his decision.

“This is a great satisfaction for me. On this team I’ve conquered the most prestigious success of my career and I’ve found the tranquillity to work and race at the highest levels,” he said. “The fact that I renewed together with Sylvain is a dream come true. Day by day our friendship is growing and our mutual understanding during the race is growing. I’m sure that together we’ll be able to achieve some great accomplishments for ourselves, for the team and our sponsors.”

Lefevere believes that his performances this season have marked a real turning point, and that more is to come in the future.

“Jerome is enduring a crucial moment in his career. The choice of putting him in the line up for the Giro d’Italia was a winning one. With his success at Novi Ligure Jerome’s attitude changed completely. Now he’s much more confident in his abilities and focused on his goals,” he said. “His approach to the Tour is proof of this. Sylvain and Jerome are perfectly in synch. We will build the team’s future on their shoulders.”

The last statement is interesting as it may reflect a moving-away from the team’s reliance on Tom Boonen as being the biggest name and results-grabber. In addition, it may also indicate that Lefevere sees the riders as a possible replacement for Stijn Devolder, who has fallen out of favour with the Belgian squad. He is expected to move to the Vacansoleil team at the end of the season.

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