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FDJ manager Marc Madiot has insisted that his two young sprinters Nacer Bouhanni and Arnaud Démare can co-exist on the same team in 2013, stating that there is more to cycling than the Tour de France.
Bouhanni beat Démare into second place at the French national championships last June while Démare scored a fine victory at the Vattenfall Cyclassics. Neither rider has yet lined up at the Tour, although Démare made his grand tour debut at the Giro d’Italia and Bouhanni rode the Vuelta a España.
Asked by sudouest.fr if Bouhanni or Démare would be his sprinter for the 2013 Tour, Madiot said: “It annoys me when everyone asks me that! The two will have room to express themselves. The Germans, with Kittel and Degenkolb, or the Belgians, with Boonen and Cavendish, don’t ask themselves these questions. We won’t focus just on the Tour. There are races all year round, some nice ones, with WorldTour points to be scored – at the Tour Down Under in January, at the Dauphiné, in China, everywhere!”
A high proportion of French riders have traditionally built their seasons around earning selection for the Tour de France, but in the WorldTour era, Madiot seems keen to change the culture at FDJ.
“I’ve told my riders that I don’t want to hear them saying anymore, ‘this guy’s doing the Tour, this guy isn’t,’” Madiot said. “There’s more than the Tour in the season. There is one leader assured of doing it today and that’s Thibaut Pinot. I want us to escape this tendonitis of French cycling, which sees only the Tour.”
Change Cycling Now
In a wide-ranging interview, Madiot was also asked for his opinion of the Change Cycling Now movement, which met in London in December and has floated the idea of nominating Greg LeMond as an interim president of the UCI.
“I have a lot of time for LeMond, I rode with him. His move doesn’t bother me,” Madiot said. “I have more of a problem with this Australian sponsor (Jamie Fuller, CEO of a sportswear company) who has come to make publicity for himself and attack the UCI in the courts. It’s ok that you want to advance things, but in that case, why go and claim €2 million in damages?”
Madiot also wondered if Change Cycling Now’s approach needed to be more nuanced and he suggested that the group should initially serve as a something of a watchdog rather than seeking to effect change directly.
“In my opinion, they’re not going about the thing the right way,” he said. “They’re saying that Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen are bastards and that’s all well and good, but apart from that? There is nothing productive and that’s a pity. They want the presidency of the UCI but they’re not even in a position to be able to get themselves elected… I’d like them to be a proposing force, [I’d like] that they would say to the UCI, ‘why don’t you do this or that?’ And then afterwards, we could see.”
Madiot’s FDJ team was one of the founder members of another movement aimed at cleaning up cycling, the MPCC, or Movement for Credible Cycling. Largely the preserve of French teams since its inception in 2007, the group – which imposes stricter controls on the use of corticoids – has received an influx of new membership requests in the wake of the Lance Armstrong affair, including from Astana and Gianni Savio’s Androni-Venezuela outfit.
“If he respects our rules, then he is welcome,” Madiot said of Savio. Asked if Bjarne Riis and Saxo-Tinkoff would also be welcomed into MPCC, Madiot said: “There will be time to talk about it. But for now, he hasn’t sent us anything…”