Anthony Ravard ready to support Feillu in Worlds bunch sprint
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Anthony Ravard ready to support Feillu in Worlds bunch sprint

by Kyle Moore at 4:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
 
In-form Frenchman yields to Vacansoleil-DCM sprinter

Anthony RavardThe French road race squad for this month’s road World Championships will boast Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) and Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) as leaders, but if it comes down to a bunch sprint, Anthony Ravard (Ag2R La Mondiale) will work to set up Romain Feillu of the Dutch team Vacansoleil-DCM.

Ravard, with three wins to his credit this season, is making his debut at the Worlds, perhaps a reason why the more experienced Feillu gets the nod.

“Laurent Jalabert [the French team coach] asked me if I was ready to support Romain Feillu if we were to both be present in the final,” Ravard explained to L’Equipe. “I replied that yes, this is what went on at Agritubel [where the two were team-mates from 2007 to 2009], and we were friends. These are the orders and I accept them.”

With two wins since the end of August, Ravard is enjoying his best season to date. It is the second year in a row that the 27-year-old has come good in the late summer, but it is his first appearance on the French national team.

“I am happy, and it is important in my career,” he said about his selection. “And of course, it adds more pressure. But it is not undeserved. I have proven that I am able to win races.”

Coming off a win at the Châteauroux Classic de l'Indre - Trophée Fenioux, ahead of fast men such as former Vuelta a España stage winner Yauheni Hutarovich (FdJ) and Saïd Haddou (Europcar), Ravard has shown enough late-season form to merit the selection for Worlds. And it’s the second time in a long season for the Frenchman that he has found good form. In February, he took out the overall in the Etoile de Bessèges, and took his good early season condition to Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, where he finished seventh.

As he gains confidence, Ravard didn’t rule out the possibility of obtaining a high placing in Copenhagen for himself. “It is a course that suits me, and if Romain isn’t in the final, I would have my card to play,” he added. “I was told that the course would be similar as that in Zolder, Belgium, in 2002, which ended in a sprint. But the big difference is Italy had that race locked up for Cipollini. This year, I think no team will be able to do that.”

When asked if his lack of experience racing long distances, like Copenhagen’s 266 kilometers, might lead to struggles, Ravard quickly dismissed such a notion. “I have already raced long distances, like Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, and Paris Roubaix which I raced in 2010. But it’s true that I’ve never raced those to win,” he admitted.

“At the same time, I do not like racing on pavé. Here, the course suits me. And for the last two weeks, I have been riding an additional two hours after each race. I am behind a car with my performance director, and I’m at a good pace. The distance does not worry me.”

Ravard will take to the course in Copenhagen, Demark with his French team for the World Road Race Championships on September 25.

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