By Jean-François Quénet in Châteaulin
AG2R rode the Tour de France around one designated captain last year, but Christophe Moreau is no longer with the team directed by Vincent Lavenu, who is building a squad around four climbers for the July event. Cyril Dessel, Vladimir Efimkin, John Gadret and Tadej Valjavec are the men for La Grande Boucle. The other probable members of AG2R for the Tour will be the experienced Stéphane Goubert, José Luis Arrieta and Martin Elmiger, with two spots remaining open.
However, Sylvain Calzati seems out of the picture. The rider from Lyon who became famous for winning stage 8 to Lorient two years ago had a hard weekend in Brittany. He didn't have a good showing in Plumelec and Châteaulin. "My motivation is not right," he admitted.
His relationship with the management of AG2R is also not at its best. Therefore, his race program this year faced a lot of uncertainties. He might do the Tour de Suisse after his Breton weekend. "But I'm not going to ride the Tour de France this year," he predicted.
Calzati is clearly on the cycling market. "Some French teams are interested in signing me for next year, but I don't rule out an experience in a foreign team," said the 28 year-old. While he doesn't know yet where he will end up next season, he already has some ideas about his final year. "In a couple of years, I'd love to quit cycling after racing for one year domestically in South Africa. At the end of 2002, I was going to quit already because I couldn't find a pro contract and I was given one by Barloworld. I have fond memories of racing in South Africa and it would be great to take my family living there for one year and enjoy cycling the same way I've started, riding for a domestic South African team."
Calzati has more to show in Europe yet before heading south.