Moncoutié to try for record fourth consecutive Vuelta King of the Mountains title
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Moncoutié to try for record fourth consecutive Vuelta King of the Mountains title

by Shane Stokes at 6:13 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Veteran Cofidis rider confirms he’ll likely continue for another season

David MoncoutieAdmitting he was demoralised after a difficult Tour de France, David Moncoutié has got his determination back and will tomorrow line out in the Vuelta with a major goal in mind. Last year the Frenchman joined Spanish riders Antonio Karmany, Julio Jimenez, Jose Luis Laguia and Jose Maria Jimenez as the only riders to win three consecutive King of the Mountains titles in the Spanish Grand Tour; he’s now aiming to be the first to reach four in a row.

However to do so, it will require a change in his tactical approach. “There are more points awarded at the big uphill finishes”, he said. “I’ll take it into consideration. Rather than going in many breakaways, I’ll calculate my efforts a bit more. My priority remains to win a stage, though. The Anglirù is a bit too steep for me. It suits other climbers more than me. But I dream to win stage four at the top of the Sierra Nevada.”

The race this year hits the mountains early with that first big climb on Tuesday. Should Moncoutié triumph, it would put him in a good position for that competition, and so he will be doubly motivated.

Although he’s French, he’s tended to perform better in Spain than in his home Grand Tour. He rode his tenth Tour this year and even if he decides to prolong his career by a year, he has said that it will be the last time he does so.

“In my mind, it was game over at the end of the Tour de France”, he admitted, speaking about his morale. “I was disappointed. I hadn’t found the solution for winning a stage. I was affected by the bad weather and I was tired before the mountains. Except for my second place in stage 13 in Lourdes, I didn’t get anything from my efforts. I’ve wanted to participate to the Tour de France to make it ten and that was supposed to be my last Grand Tour.”

However as time passed, his physical and mental condition picked up. He then received a big boost to his morale when he triumphed in the Tour de l’Ain earlier this month. The race came down to the final stage and on the climb of Le Grand Colombier, he broke clear with FDJ rider Thibaut Pinot and took over a minute out of the previous race leader Wout Poels (Vacansoleil). That was enough to seal his place at the top of the general classification.

The victory helped him agree to ride the Vuelta, and so too the knowledge that his team most likely got its invitation to the race due to his exploits there in the past. In addition to his King of the Mountains titles, he’s also clocked up three stage wins, and has been one of the most aggressive riders.

Now 36 years of age, it’s clear that his career is nearing its end. He’s been talking about retirement for some time but, as he has done before, he’s decided that he’s likely to keep going.

“I’ll decide in the coming month weather or not I continue my career for one more year”, he said. “I won’t ride the Tour de France anymore, I’ll give way to the younger guys. I’ll probably be part of the bunch again in 2012. I don’t think that my team will hire a big leader…”

If he does continue, he’ll extend a remarkable run with the same team. He turned pro with Cofidis in 1997 and has remained there ever since; 2012 would be his sixteenth year as part of the French squad.

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