Frenchman without a contract after Euskaltel-Euskadi demise
Romain Sicard is reportedly close to signing with Europcar for 2014. The Frenchman was left without a contract after Euskaltel-Euskadi folded at the end of this season.
According to a report in L’Équipe, Sicard was due to meet with Europcar manager Jean-René Bernaudeau on Thursday to discuss a possible move to the team. Currently a Pro Continental team, Europcar has applied for WorldTour status in 2014, with Bernaudeau planning to expand his roster from 22 to 25 riders if his team is elevated into cycling’s top flight. 18 teams have applied for the 18 available WorldTour places.
World under-23 champion and Tour de l’Avenir winner in 2009, Sicard turned professional with Euskaltel-Euskadi the following year, having raced as an amateur with feeder team Orbea.
Sicard has failed to make the same impact as contemporaries such as Thibaut Pinot, Carlos Betancur and Tejay van Garderen since turning professional, and he was been hampered by a muscular imbalance in his right leg during his time as a professional.
“He hasn’t had any results since his world title four years ago. A career passes quickly, but at the same time, it’s not too late for him. Far from it,” Europcar directeur sportif Andy Flickinger told L’Équipe.
“The aim is to relaunch him, and for him to develop with us. He hasn’t ridden for a French team yet, and he wants to do that. Given his physical problems, he deserves a second chance.”
Sicard’s best performance as a professional was arguably his 12th place finish at this year’s Eneco Tour, which came shortly after he completed his first Tour de France in 122nd place. The Frenchman made his Grand Tour debut at the 2012 Vuelta a España, finishing 44th.
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