David Veilleux progresses steadily at Europcar, no Tour debut this year
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Saturday, June 11, 2011

David Veilleux progresses steadily at Europcar, no Tour debut this year

by Xylon van Eyck at 5:45 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Canadian to target national championships and strong end of season

David VeilleuxDavid Veilleux has had a steady debut in the professional ranks with Team Europcar. The Canadian was based in North America riding for Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling Team and Kelly Benefit Strategies the last four years, before moving across to Europe to join the upper echelon of professional cycling.

The 23 year old didn’t have to wait long for his first victory in March when he won La Roue Tourangelle.

“I have learned a lot so far this season,” he said speaking to VeloNation this week. “I raced a lot and at a level I wasn’t used to. I feel like I have progressed both physically and tactically. It wasn’t my primary goal at the start of the season [to win], but I am happy to have achieved some success.”

One of those races was the monument Paris-Roubaix. Europcar’s best finisher was Damien Gaudin in sixteenth place while Veilleux finished a credible 25th on his debut.

He is one of only two non-French riders on the team but has settled in very well. “My teammates are very nice and the atmosphere on the team is good.”

Team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau nearly had to shut the doors on the team last year when the sponsorship contract with BBox Bouygues Telecom came to an end. Europcar saved the team at the eleventh hour, with one of its requirements being that in-demand French favourite Thomas Voeckler remains with the team.

Thus far, Veilleux’s impression of the team’s top rider is a good one. “I only had the chance to race with him a couple times at the beginning of the season. Thomas is a very nice guy,” he said. “He is really funny and not presumptuous at all.”

Voeckler will be the cornerstone of the team for the Tour de France, and will try to repeat his stage win of last year. As for Veilleux, he doesn’t see himself making his debut this year.

“I think it would be too much for me because I have never done a three week long race before,” he explained. “I will take that time to relax a little bit at home and a have a good end of the season. In less than two weeks, I will take part in the Canadian National Championships, both time-trial and road race. During July, I will not be racing and I will go to Europe in August where I will have a good racing schedule.

“In September, I will come back to Montréal for the WorldTour races in Québec and Montréal where I will try to do a good result.”

Veilleux will aim for a strong result in the Canadian TT champs in the coming weeks. He has won the under 23 version of the race four times, and will try to land his first elite title. However he admits that his move to the pro ranks has led to him pondering where his strengths lie.

“It’s funny that you are asking the question because the more I race, the less I know!” he told VeloNation. “The previous years, I considered myself as time-trialist and a good sprinter. But this year, the racing is a lot harder and I haven’t found my niche yet.”



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