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Stage winner Brice Feillu (Agritubel) made France proud.
Tour de France stage winner last signing of French team
Pro Continental team Bretagne-Séché Environnement has announced the signing of Brice Feillu. The 28-year old Frenchman is the 16th and last rider of the French team in 2014. He joins his older brother Romain who has also signed a one-year contract with Bretagne-Séché.
Brice Feillu was left without a contract after the Sojasun team became one of the five professional cycling teams to close its doors after this season. The rider from central France rose to fame in 2009 when he won the seventh stage in the Tour de France, winning at Andorra-Arcalis alone in the colours of Agritubel.
Subsequently he joined the Dutch team Vacansoleil in 2010 with his brother Romain, and then moved to Leopard-Trek the following year on his own. There was no place for him after the team merged with Radioshack and Feillu signed with Sojasun for two seasons in 2012. Since his stage win in his first year as a pro cyclist he never won a race in his career again.
At Bretagne he finds Sojasun teammates Anthony Delaplace and Christophe Laborie. The French team announced Feillu would be the last signing of the team.
"We had several options," sports director Emmanuel Hubert told Le Telegramme. "We could offer a contract extension to Gaël Malacarne or Sebastien Duret or get a new rider for the team. After weighing up the pros and cons we ended up signing Brice."
Bretagne-Séché Environnement has been the fourth and smallest Pro Continental team in France for the past years, but has repeatedly missed out on a Tour de France wildcard spot in favor of the other French Pro Continental teams Sojasun, Cofidis and Europcar. With Europcar stepping up to World Tour level, Sojasun quitting and the availability of four wildcards in 2014 again [because there were 19 World Tour teams in 2013, only three wildcards were available], Bretagne has high hopes for an entry ticket to La Grande Boucle next year.
"We still have the ambition to be in the Tour de France next year and Brice therefore fits the team perfectly. He has finished the race three times already," Hubert added.
The French outfit only won four races this year, all of the lower .2 category but strengthened their squad for next season. Jean-Marc Bideau, Erwann Corbel, Armindo Fonseca, Arnaud Gérard, Florian Guillou, Benoit Jarrier, Clément Koretzky, Benjamin Le Montagner, Pierre-Luc Perichon, Florian Vachon and Argentinean Eduardo Sepúlveda and Norway's Vergard Stake Laengen stay with the predominantly French team. Next to Brice Feillu the other three new signings are Christophe Laborie and Anthony Delaplace from Sojasun, and Romain Feillu from Vacansoleil-DCM.