Cofidis team manager Eric Boyer has announced his rider line-up for the upcoming Vuelta a España. David Moncoutié and Rein Taaramae will be heading the squad in the Spanish grand tour, supported by Yoann Bagot, Nicolas Edet, Damien Monier, Luis Angel Mate, Aleksejs Saramotins, Nico Sijmens and Julien Fouchard.
Team leader Moncoutié will be targeting a fourth mountains title after having won the climbers competition each time these three last years. The Frenchman, who was disappointed with his Tour de France and received some public criticism, was unsure as to his end of season programme, but finally focussed on the Vuelta once again.
"He was hurt after the comments made by Laurent Jalabert [who criticised Moncoutié for his race tactics in the finale of stage 13 into Lourdes - ed.] and the public reaction on the days afterwards," Boyer told Cyclingnews on Friday from the Tour de l'Ain. In a breakaway chasing down Jérémy Roy, Moncoutié had collaborated with stage winner Thor Hushovd, which earned him national scorn.
"But David didn't ride to make Jérémy lose, he rode to win the stage. Thor was just much stronger than him and even if he hadn't taken turns, Thor would have probably won the stage anyway. David felt he didn't deserve to be treated this way. But he found his morale again after the Tour and also his level of performance, which we can see right now at the Tour de l'Ain."
The team's most promising young rider, Taaramae, will also race his second grand tour this year, a decision Boyer was reluctant to accept at first. "But he told us that he felt really good after the Tour, and that he wanted to take advantage of his form." After discussing this with the rider's trainer, Boyer agreed. "He assured us that Rein had never been physically exceeded or over-raced this season. His aim will be the same as at the Tour de France: the best young rider jersey, a top ten on GC and maybe win a stage."
Boyer also announced new rider signings for 2012, and his strategy to reinforce the squad around Taaramae for the future. Uncertain of whether Moncoutié will continue his career as a rider.
"He talks about quitting every year, but I do feel that he is closer to it now than he has ever been", the Cofidis manager just recruited two good climbers to support the Estonian at altitude: Rémy di Grégorio from Astana and their current stagiaire Rudy Molard.
"At the Tour, we saw that Rein was too often alone in the high mountains. Di Grégorio has the ability to support him there and to go for stage wins, too. We have just signed Molard, too, who is also a very promising rider, an excellent climber already at 21 years," Boyer commented.