U23 World Champion gets second place at mountain finish
U23 world champion Romain Sicard collected his first result at ProTour level as he finished second in Risoul at the end of stage 4 at the Dauphiné. He jumped from the group of Alberto Contador and race leader Jani Brajkovic but couldn't catch his compatriot Nicolas Vogondy who claimed the stage victory.
"Vogondy was very strong," Sicard told reporters in Risoul. "I didn't manage to regain time on him. It's always a disappointment to come second but it was enjoyable to be up there with the best riders. I felt there was some hesitation in the group, so I profited from it to attack. Since I was five minutes down on GC, I had nothing to lose. I was impatient to discover the Alps."
Sicard is more familiar with the Pyrénées as he hails from the French side of the Basque country. He's from Hasparren, a village at the top of a climb not far from the Atlantic, so climbing has always been a necessity for him.
He also said in Risoul: "I had good feelings today." That wasn't the case when he started the Dauphiné. "I'm not satisfied with my condition," he had told Le Dauphiné newspaper prior to Thursday's time trial. "But I'm very motivated. This is a great stage race. I'm lucky to be able to take part in such an event in France on the kind of terrain I like the most. The Dauphiné was one of my biggest goals for this year with Paris-Nice."
Sicard who turned 22 on January 1st this year, will not take part in the Tour de France nor the Vuelta a España in his first professional year. The Euskaltel team wants to nurture him. In every interview he's been giving since he started his pro career at the Santos Tour Down Under in January, the winner of the Tour de l'Avenir and U23 world champion in Mendrisio said: "I don't feel that I have to assume the responsibility of the future of French cycling. There are many young French riders who are doing well and better than me so far. For example, Anthony Roux and Brice Feillu who are from the same generation as me have already won stages at the Vuelta and the Tour."
To Le Dauphiné, he added: "It's flattering that someone like Bernard Hinault, with the palmarès he's got, speaks highly of me, but he was a rider with a lot of character and I'm not sure if I'm the same."
Sicard is known for being very focused and determined to succeed but he wants to take his time. The second place he took in front of no less than Brajkovic and Contador confirms the good opinion Hinault has of him.