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Gilbert's brother to ride for first Euro-African team
GEOFCO-Ville d'Alger will race in both Africa and Europe in 2012 as the first Euro-African team. The Algerian-based Continental team will feature mostly Algerian riders, but will also have several Belgians on board, including Jerome Gilbert, the younger brother of Philippe Gilbert.
The team is sponsored and managed by Belgian Geoffrey Coupe, who spent his pro career with such Belgian teams as Marlux, Flanders and Jartazi before retiring in 2007. Last summer, he met with Rachid Fezouin, the president of the Algerian Cycling Federation, and took over the existing Continental ranked team Aïn Benian-Ville d’Alger.
When the team competes in Europe, mainly in Belgium, it will look to Gent-Wevelgem winner Nico Mattan as sport director, along with Sebastien Fontaine. The team will be supported in Europe by Multisport, an Elites without contract team.
Most of the riders will be Algerian, having come over with Aïn Benian-Ville d’Alger. To help them adjust to the European peloton, several Belgians have also been signed, including the younger Gilbert.
The team's first season highlight will be the Tour of Algerian in March.