Although Vacansoleil-DCM are already engaged at the Giro d’Italia and the Tour of Belgium this weekend, sprinter Romain Feillu managed to persuade the Dutch outfit to send a team to the Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan and the Boucles de l’Aulne in Brittany as he defends his lead in the Coupe de France.
“The team is based in the Netherlands and our calendar certainly won’t allow me to take part in all the rounds,” Feillu told Ouest France. “I’ll have to get a head start this weekend.
“At the moment, there are the Tour of Belgium and Giro d’Italia, and also the Tour of Luxembourg, which starts on Wednesday. It wasn’t easy to put together a team to support me in the Coupe de France. I hope we won’t be making the trip for nothing.”
Feillu was a recent winner of a stage at the Circuit de Lorraine and all told he has clocked up seven wins so far this season. He credits his spate of success to his improved focus in bunch finish.
“I’m more concentrated on my sprints,” Feillu said. “I’m only thinking of winning and I’m making fewer and fewer mistakes.”
While the centrepiece of Feillu’s summer will be the Tour de France, where he will bid to add a stage win to the yellow jersey he wore in 2008, this weekend’s races have historically been an important step in his preparation. His first professional victory came at the Boucles de l’Aulne in 2007, while his repeat win the following year opened the door to his Tour debut with Agritubel.
“A first win at this level is of course an event,” Feillu recalled. “The year after, when I won the second time, it was a real deliverance. I was coming back after toxoplasmosis, and my win at the Boucles de l’Aulne allowed me to do the Tour and wear the yellow jersey…”