Brice Feillu has told L’Equipe that he will leave the Vacansoleil team at the end of the season, a year before his contract is due to expire. The Frenchman was disappointed by Vacansoleil’s failure to secure a place at the Tour de France and this setback was compounded when they were also overlooked for a Vuelta a España invitation. He won the stage to Arcalis in the 2009 Tour.
Both Feillu and his brother Romain had been linked with a move away from the Dutch team during the summer, but the latter has elected to stay put. It means that for the first time in his short professional career, in 2011 Brice Feillu will not ride for the same team as his brother.
“For Romain, the Tour isn’t a major objective, but I was really disappointed [not to be invited],” Brice Feillu said. “I knew that there was a risk in going to Vacansoleil and I wanted to take that risk to be with Romain. I’m not going to say I regret it because you learn from all experience.”
“Romain and I are completely different riders, we’re not inseparable,” Feillu said. “Romain is following his path and I’m following mine, but perhaps one day we’ll team up again.”
Brice Feillu will have to pay compensation to Vacansoleil in order to free himself from his contract, but he is confident that will not be an obstacle. “The management at Vacansoleil knew that they couldn’t really keep someone against his will, and they were right,” he explained.
In recent weeks, Feillu has been linked with a move to the new Luxembourg-based team that is expected to be built around the Schleck brothers, although he admitted to L’Equipe that he has had a number of offers from teams in France and abroad.
Meanwhile, elder brother Romain is happy to stay with Vacansoleil, in spite of earlier speculation suggesting that he may also leave. “Brice misses the Tour more than me, certainly,” he said. “Me, I trained very hard during July and that’s starting to pay off.”
Romain Feillu won yesterday’s stage at the Tour of Burgos and has a busy month of racing planned in a bid to force his way into Laurent Jalabert’s plans for the French World Championship squad.
“I know that Jalabert prefers riders who go from the Vuelta to the Worlds, but it’s up to me to show that I’m going well. In any case, there’s also Paris-Tours, which is dear to my heart,” he said.