Cruising with Crédit Agricole

After her training camp with Brioches La Boulangère and the brothers Beloki in early December,...

An interview with Crédit Agricole directeurs-sportifs Denis Roux and Serge Beucherie, January 28, 2004

After her training camp with Brioches La Boulangère and the brothers Beloki in early December, multiple world pursuit champion and comeback queen Marion Clignet thought it was time to go training with the boys again, this time with Crédit Agricole.

Based in Hyeres in the south of France, Marion has so far racked up more than 400 kilometres over four days in hilly terrain. She says the ambiance is good in the new-look Crédit Agricole team, although two riders, Christophe Moreau and Patrice Halgand, have gone home, Moreau with a torn ligament that will most likely mean one month off the bike and Halgand with slight tendonitis that will probably take him a few days to recover from. Being the inquistive lady she is, Marion decided to ask directeurs-sportifs Denis Roux and Serge Beucherie a few questions about the reasons for the change and some of the new riders in CA's 2004 line-up.

Cyclingnews: Why so much change for Crédit Agricole in 2004?

Denis Roux and Serge Beucherie: The change didn't really happen naturally. I mean it wasn't planned; it happened due to negotiations, good and bad, between riders and team director Roger Legeay, so their departure then had to be compensated. We've reinforced our team with climbers Benoit Salmon, Alexandre Botcharov and Patrice Halgand, and sprinters Julian Dean and Damien Nazon to add to Thor Hushovd's tremendous sprinting last season.

CN: And what about the other newcomers?

DR/SB: Yes, we've added two young Kazakh espoirs from the now defunct Mapei squad who I'm sure won't disappoint us, as well as young French rider Sébastien Joly from Jean Delatour and an espoir we've brought up from our under 23 team whose name is Geoffroy Lequatre.

CN: What else can you say about the changes to your team?

DR/SB: Well, change brings about more motivation - perhaps things were too routine for us all, so change is necessary in any team, for us as well as for them... At the end of the day, you have to question yourself and not just accept life as it is.

CN: Anything else you have to say?

DR/SB: Pierrick Fedrigo is going to have a phenomenal beginning of season - we're counting on him - and now that we have a lot of sprinters, we'll be winning bunch sprints too!

CN: What's your race schedule looking like?

DR/SB: Presently we have a team at the Tour Down Under, and at the end of the month, one team will do the Tour of Qatar and the other will do the GP Marseillaise and Etoile de Bessèges.

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