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Sylvain Calzati (Team Sky)
French riders reveal they have not been kept on
French riders Sylvain Calzati and Nicolas Portal have confirmed that they have not been retained by Team Sky for the 2011 season.
Calzati told l'Équipe that he has signed with the small French team Bretagne-Schuller, while Portal is still looking for a team and may retire and become a directeur sportif.
Calzati missed the first half of the season with an intestinal virus and only raced for 49 days with Team Sky. Portal was offered a place at Team Sky despite missing most of the 2009 season due to a heart problem. He raced for a total of 54 days but failed to secure a place in the Team Sky line-up for the Tour de France and has made little impact in races.
Both riders were enthusiastic about riding with Team Sky at the start of the season but were critical of the British team when speaking to l'Équipe.
"Cycling is still about riding your bike. But when the scientific part becomes too important, that makes your brain work more than anything else. But the basis of everything is training on the road. They've got a lot of theories but if you look at the results, they have not lived up to their expectations," Calzati told l'Équipe.
"I've had no sign of life from the team since the moment Sky told me I hadn't been selected for the Tour de France. Even today they haven’t officially told me that I haven't been kept in the team."
Team Sky refused to respond to Calzati's accusations. However Cyclingnews understands that Calzati's agent Michel Gross was aware that he would not be retained for 2011.
Calzati is expected to be a team leader at the Bretagne-Schuller team.
"He's got a lot of experience and will make a great road captain for us. He's had a difficult season at Sky but is still hungry for success," Bretagne-Schuller directeur sportif Manu Hubert said when he confirmed Calzati had joined the team for 2011.
Team Sky has so far announced the signing of Rigoberto Uran, Xabier Zandio and neo-pro Alex Dowsett. However more signings are expected in the next few weeks, as the team increases its roster close to the 30-rider limit.