Europcar team to start Tour de France on home soil in Vendée
Frenchman Anthony Charteau was a surprised winner of the polka-dot jersey in the 2010 Tour de France but has said he'll target a second win in 2011, despite a reform of the points scale that favours uphill finish winners.
In the past few years, the number of points awarded at the top of the last climb before the finish had been doubled but this will no longer be the case in the 2011. Only the points allocated at the top of the four mountaintop finishes will be worth double: on stage 12 (Luz Ardiden), stage 14 (Plateau de Beille), stage 18 (Galibier) and stage 19 (Alpe d'Huez). Only the first six riders at the top of the category 1, 2 and 3 climbs will score points, like at the Vuelta, and at the top of the category 4 climbs, only the first rider will score points.
"That's good for me," Charteau insisted. "I'm not fast enough when it comes to sprinting, that's why Jérôme Pineau beat me on the 3rd and 4th category climbs. I'll need to be strong in the high mountains. It's a mountainous Tour de France and a very nice one in my opinion."
"I don't see any reason why I can't compete for the polka dot jersey again," Charteau added. "After the Tour, I read some critical articles about my climbing skills but they probably came from people who don't know much about cycling and nothing about my climbing ability. My goal next year will again be the polka-dot jersey. I'll follow the same preparation, although it remains to be seen with our team whether or not we'll ride the Giro. That was a very good thing to do before the Tour. It gave me the pedalling rhythm needed for the mountains."
Chartreau's Bbox Bouygues Telecom will be renamed Europcar next year, after the team from the Vendée region of France was rescued at the very last moment by the rental car company at the beginning of October. "There has been a lot of tension recently but when we'll start the Tour in Vendée, it'll be massive and highly emotional," Charteau predicted.
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