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After two seasons, French pro squad RAGT Semences is withdrawing from competition. Originally...
After two seasons, French pro squad RAGT Semences is withdrawing from competition. Originally committed to a three year period, the team has not been able to keep up with requirements set by changes imposed at the start of this season. The team is extremely pleased with their performances in 2004 and 2005 - in their first year, Eddy Seigneur became French national time trial champion, with Frédéric Finot taking third in the same event and performing well at the end of August by winning the Boucles de l'Aulne. Other notable performances have come from riders such as Nicolas Reynaud, Eric Berthou and Sylvain Calzati in races such as the Tour des Régions Wallonnes, Paris-Corrèze and the Tour de l'Avenir.
In 2005 the team had to tighten its budget as a UCI Professional Continental Tour team, concentrating on recruiting and developing young talent. Although this policy didn't lead to significant results, it did serve to help young riders rise to the challenges of the pro circuit. Riders like Sébastien Minard, for example, who won the last leg in the Tour de l'Avenir - the same race Eric Berthou took sixth overall in.
In 2006, a number of RAGT Semences riders will be riding for Pro Tour outfits, including Yoann Le Boulanger (Bouygues Télécom), Christophe Rinero (Saunier Duval), Eric Berthou (Illes Balears), Sébastien Minard (Cofidis), and Olivier Kaisen (Quick Step). Emilien-Benoit Bergès will ride for Auber 93.
Team manager Serge Barle said of the team's withdrawal: "All in all, we can draw a satisfactory conclusion. It's a shame that we were not able to go the full three years, as I reckon that our younger riders would have risen to the challenge. I should like to thank all of the sponsors for their support together with that of the press who were also supportive as a whole. Most of all though, I should like to thank the RAGT Semences management who made it possible for us to race two years on the professional circuit." The team would like to thank all of the organisations for having invited them, including the Société du Tour de France in 2004 and the Dauphiné Libéré.