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Stéphane Auge (Cofidis) heads on stage to receive the sprinter's jersey.
Frenchman retires from racing to join management team
Stéphane Augé has decided the hang up his wheels and become a directeur sportif at Cofidis. The 36-year-old had a contract to race for the team in 2011, but has instead opted to take up a management role with the team in the wake of the departure of Francis Van Londersele.
"For a little over a year, I've had this change of occupation running through my head," Augé told L'Equipe. "I discussed it with [Cofidis manager] Eric Boyer, who was attracted by the idea and I set about getting a state certificate in sports coaching."
Augé has just one more week of training left before obtaining his official diploma. The Frenchman admitted that he was inspired to follow the course after seeing many of his fellow professionals retire from the sport without any firm plans.
"After a beautiful career, I didn't have any desire to suffer from stopping racing," Augé explained. "I saw a lot of riders finish their careers and unfortunately get left to their own devices. This is a great opportunity that's opening up for me."
Augé joined Cofidis in 2005, after turning professional with Festina in 2000. His biggest success came with victory in the Four Days of Dunkirk in 2008, and he also participated in 8 Tour de France.
"I couldn't have wished for any better than to start a career as a directeur sporfif with Cofidis," Augé said. "I'm lucky that I know everybody and I think that I'll know how to talk to the riders, most of whom were my teammates over the years. I also think that I can bring something to the role, especially for the young riders. It's really a great pleasure for me."
Reports in Ouest France on Tuesday have also linked former Bbox-Bouygues Telecom directeur sportif Didier Rous with a role in Cofidis' revamped management set-up. The French squad was disappointed to miss out on a ProTeam licence for 2011.