New to Team Type 1-Sanofi's roster this upcoming season and predicted to be a protected rider in stage races, 27-year-old Julien El Farès brings a new depth of experience to an otherwise relatively young pro continental team.
After four years with Cofidis, El Farès' transition to the American team is a testament to Team Type 1's swift development and growing professionalism, which CEO Phil Southerland said made for a relatively effortless recruitment process heading into 2012.
"Team Type 1 is a team that wants to promote healthy living," El Farès told Cyclingnews during their December 8-18 team training camp in Tucson, Arizona. "It's a team that was built at the beginning to try and promote that anything is possible, even if you live with diabetes. It's also a team that has a tough message to bring about, so it has hurdles to cross."
Fourth in stage 17 of the 2011 Tour de France, El Farès considers himself more adept as a pure climber as opposed to climber/stage racer or a "100 percent stage racer" he said, preferring the smaller power climbs of two or three kilometers.
His race results with Cofidis include stage wins in the Tour Méditerranéen and Tirreno-Adriatico, an overall win in the Tour de Wallonie in 2009, and his presence on the squad brings not only opportunities for further results, but elevates the team's stature in the eyes of the race organisers.
"I want to help the team convince race directors to accept us for the later season races like Paris-Nice, the Tour of Romandy, Tour de Suisse, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana and the Tour de France."
For El Farès these are all new, unique challenges he's ready to tackle head on. He considers his main goal to keep extra focused this year in order to successfully take on two responsibilities: promoting diabetes awareness, as well as securing results in order early on in the season.
Even though this is his first year with Team Type 1, and at best, has had only a few short weeks getting to know his new teammates and staff, he can already see the motivation inherent in all of those involved with the team.
When it comes to the differences between his Cofidis and his new team, El Farès thinks experience is of obvious note, but in spite of that, he's impressed with Team Type 1's organization and rapid development in just their second year as a pro continental team.
"I think that, so far, they have been very professional. For the moment, I don't feel a lot of difference between Cofidis and Team Type 1, despite the racing schedule, which is more rigorous."