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Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) is happy to be back in the polka dot jersey.
Frenchman not happy about prospect of Riccò as teammate
Jérôme Pineau (Quick Step) has been recovering well from the Tour de France and is now looking forward to his next races, the Tour du Limousin next week, the GP Plouay and the two new Canadian ProTour races, the GP du Québec and the GP de Montréal in September.
As the Frenchman has spent much of his post-Tour time recovering at home, his form is back on the rise. "I'm hopeful for Plouay, with the Tour du Limousin to get back me on track for competition," he told Cyclingnews on Thursday. "Apart from San Sebastian and two criteriums, I haven't raced much after the Tour. I wanted to recover during August to be in shape again in September, and the power base I gained from the Tour is still there."
Meanwhile, the man who wore the polka-dot jersey of best climber at the Tour for nine days was not particularly happy at the possible prospect of teaming up with Riccardo Riccò next season. Pineau, 30, has committed to Quick Step for another two years and the Belgian team's manager Patrick Lefevere is currently looking into signing the controversial Italian climber to the team.
"People know my opinion of him, and this hasn't changed," he said when quizzed about this possibility. "It's the manager who chooses his riders, not me. If he does join our team, then I'll have to live with it."
Riccò was given a two-year ban for doping with EPO CERA in 2008, the year Pineau told Procycling that he wanted to "punch him in the face". The Frenchman has never weighed his words when it came to describing fellow professionals who resorted to performance-enhancing substances.
"Patrick [Lefevere] likes to give people second chances," he added. "He gave it to Richard [Virenque], he gave it to Frank Vandenbroucke. So it's not a surprise to me that he approaches a guy like (Riccò). We as riders certainly don't have our say - if we did, maybe decisions would be a little different."
The 2010 Giro d'Italia stage winner meanwhile hopes for a good end of his particularly successful season, but did not expect to be included in France's seven-men roster for the World Championships in Australia.
"I don't think I'll get selected," he said. "And for once, I would agree this year that I haven't really got an adequate programme to prepare the Worlds. I won't ride the Vuelta and I know that [French national selector] Laurent Jalabert wants riders to prepare for the Worlds in Spain. It's not that I wouldn't be motivated, but I'd need a correct programme to prepare for it."