Jonathan Hivert's first task at his new team is to find his place amongst Belkin’s vast talent pool. The Frenchman, who signed a one-year deal following the disbandment of Sojasun, recently met up with his new teammates at their training camp in Calpe, Spain and told Cyclingnews that he is more than happy to miss the Tour de France in 2014, a race he has started and finished three times.
“I’m just happy to find such a great team,” he said.
“In August it was really hard to find a good team. There weren’t many spaces left and it was becoming hard. I knew one of the trainers here at Belkin having worked with him at Skil Shimano earlier in my career and just like that, he asked me. He knew Sojasun was stopping and I was thinking about stopping and it went from there.”
The 28-year-old may have had limited options ahead of him, Bretagne - Seche Environnement apparently showed interest but the lure of riding at WorldTour was too much to turn down.
“I had a little solution with a smaller French team who said that if I had nothing then they would catch me but it was a little team and if I had no choice then maybe I could have gone there. But I preferred Belkin.”
Hivert’s race programme has yet to be finalised and made public, but he’s certain that the Tour de France will not be on his to-do list. Belkin are a stronger unit than Sojasun and Hivert is well aware that he must impress early on if he’s to extend his stay with his new team.
“It’s one year only but I’ll do my best and everything is possible. First I want to find my place in the team. There are a lot of really good riders here so I can help them. Also, if I’m really good in the start of the year at races like Pais Basque and Paris-Nice it can be possible to try for myself. That’s my first goal. If I do my best I know I can find results.”
“I’m adaptable and I’m happy to do the work for others. I’m usually in my best shape from January to May. It’s better if I don’t do the Tour as then I can recover in July and have a strong end to the season. I’m a puncheur and sometimes you need that in a team. But I’ve done the Tour three times and I’d prefer not to do it next season. I’m not that good in the summer, my body isn’t in a good shape then and the Tour is hard enough. Maybe I’ll do the Vuelta. The Tour is not important now. It’s not my favourite race and I can do other things in other races. I’ve finished the Tour three times and that’s not nothing but maybe I’m not for that race.”