By Shane Stokes
Crédit Agricole manager Roger Legeay has further explained his decision not to permit Saul Raisin to return to racing with the team, stating that he is very happy that the American rider has recovered his health following a near-fatal crash last season but that he considers the risk too great if he was to continue.
Last week, Legeay explained to Raisin that he would not be able to resume competing with the French team, contrary to the rider's hopes. He spoke to Cyclingnews on Monday to further explain his decision.
"It was a very difficult decision because when you are a team manager of a young rider like him, a rider who was very happy with his job, who was progressing and who had won a race, it is tough when you have hard news," he stated. "But Saul was in a very bad situation before. Now I am so happy that he is coming back as a normal guy with a normal life... that for me is more important. It is a big victory."
Raisin had a very bad crash on the opening stage of the Circuit de la Sarthe in April 2006. He fell heavily and hit his head and while he initially seemed to be out of danger, he suffered a haemorrhage and doctors were forced to induce a coma. He confounded expectations by not only regaining mobility, but also making a return to intensive training and, ultimately, riding the USA time trial championship this summer.
Legeay told Cyclingnews last week that Raisin's contract for 2008 would be honoured, in terms of payment. He has shown very strong support for the rider and visited him both in hospital in France and also when he was recovering back home in the USA.
"I do my best with the riders. It is the same with the health, it is same with the ethics... I do the best that I can do. I am very happy to support Saul and his family and I am so happy now he is coming back as a normal person. That in itself is a very, very big victory."