Jean-Christophe Peraud to make 2011 debut with AG2R at home in France
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Jean-Christophe Peraud to make 2011 debut with AG2R at home in France

by Jered Gruber at 6:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
33 year old former mountain biker to remain in France for the first part of the season

33 year old former mountain biker, Jean-Christophe Peraud, will be looking to get his season started off early and successfully in 2011. The Frenchman, who shot to the fore after winning the 2009 French time trial championships, signed for Omega Pharma-Lotto for 2010 and enjoyed a solid first year including a highlight performance at the Tour of the Basque Country, where he finished 4th overall.

It didn't take long for the promise of Peraud to pique the interest of the French teams though, and despite a ruined first Tour de France due to blood poisoning, Peraud was the subject of much transfer rumors despite having a contract through 2011 with Marc Sergeants Omega Pharma-Lotto team.

At the end of September, the transfer became official - Peraud was heading back to France to Vincent Lavenu's AG2R team.

The move looks to be a good one for both team and rider. For Peraud, he's not asking for much: "My objectives are simple: my first participation in the Tour de France, and to try to win my first high level race, whether it's a one day race or a stage race."

To that end, Peraud plans to get to racing early, but he won't be heading to Australia or the Middle East. The rider who left a solid Belgian team to return to France does not seem terribly interested in leaving his homeland so early in the season. According to La France Cycliste, he'll start his 2011 campaign at the GP La Marseillaise, then follow that with the Tour of the Mediterranean, and the Tour du Haut Var. His early season French start should see him likely progressing to an early spike in form just in time for the Race to the Sun. He finished 9th overall in his debut Paris-Nice in 2010 - he'll be looking to better that next year.

Paris-Nice could prove a pivotal race for not only Peraud, but for his AG2R team as well. Currently, AG2R-La Mondiale is fighting a five-way battle for the final three ProTeam spots next season. AG2R (20th in the UCI's new team's ranking) is in the running with Euskaltel (16th), Geox (17th), QuickStep (18th), and Cofidis (19th) for one of the final three ProTeam licenses. AG2R's chances are anything but certain and could even be labeled as doubtful, so in the event of missing out on the ProTeam license, a Wild Card invite to the Tour de France would be their only chance to get into France's and the world's biggest race. A victory or a top finish at the early season ASO event, Paris-Nice, could do a lot to help that cause…of course, that's if AG2R misses out on the ProTeam designation.



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