By Jean-François Quénet in Carcassonne
The typically French Française des Jeux team no has a long history of English speaking riders from various countries like the US (Chris Horner), Great-Britain (Max Sciandri and Bradley Wiggins), Australia (Brad McGee, Baden Cooke, Matt Wilson, Mark Renshaw) and South Africa (Ian McLeod). New Zealand was missing on the list. But a Kiwi will line up soon with the four-leaf clover white jersey: Tim Gudsell, 22, from the national track team, will be a stagiaire from August 1st on and his first pro race will be Paris-Corrèze (Aug. 2-3).
Gudsell caught the attention of Yvon Madiot – Marc's brother – when he won the U23 Tour du Haut-Anjou in early April under the colours of his French club VS Albi, where he pairs with the up and coming sprinter Stéphane Poulhiès. Poulhiès will start his own pro career with AG2R, also on August 1st.
"I'm delighted to be given a chance," Gudsell said, while riding the Tour des Deux-Sèvres in west of France. "I'll do my best to get a pro contract after that. My 2006 season almost started in October last year because of the track commitments, but fortunately I've had a nice break with a couple of other New Zealanders in June. I'm fresh and motivated for what's coming up now."