Frenchman at odds with squad's sprint focus
Alexandre Geniez has announced that he will leave Argos-Shimano at the end of the season after failing to make the nine-man selection for the Tour de France. With the team increasingly focused on the sprinting talent of Marcel Kittel, the French climber feels that he will have to sample pastures new in order to fulfil his considerable potential.
“Given that the team is evolving exclusively towards the sprint, I realise that I won’t have the means to blossom at Argos-Shimano in the years to come,” Geniez told AFP. “For that reason, I won’t be part of the team in 2013.”
Geniez acknowledged that it was inevitable that the Tour squad would be built around Kittel after his fine opening half of the season and he said that he respected his team’s decision. “Marcel Kittel is in great form and so the strategy is to put everything 100% behind the sprint with a team exclusively dedicated to that objective,” Geniez said.
Such a strategy – at the Tour and elsewhere – leaves little room for a climber such as Geniez, however. Winner of the prestigious Ronde de l’Isard in his final year as an amateur in 2009, Geniez has yet to hit such heights with regularity in his three years as a professional in the Argos-Shimano squad, although he impressed in taking a mountain stage win at the Tour of Austria last July. Geniez also finished 4th in the 2011 Critérium International and second in the Route du Sud as a neo-professional in 2010.
“When I’ve needed to ride to lead out the sprints, I’ve always done my work without a second thought, even if I had GC interests to defend in stage races,” Geniez said. “Until December 31, I’ll keep riding with great motivation and respect for my current team.”
While Geniez misses out on making his Tour debut, he has the consolation of lining up for his second Vuelta a España in August. The Rodez native will prepare for the Spanish race by taking part in the Tour de Pologne and the Vuelta a Burgos.
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