By Jean-François Quénet
Young Swede Johan Lindgren has signed a two years deal with Française des Jeux...starting in 2007. The 19 year-old from Falun completed the U23 time trial world championship in 23rd position in Madrid. "I'm disappointed with my ride," he commented. "I started pretty well, then I suffered back problems." He was ranked 12th after 7.6km but couldn't keep the same rhythm.
Lindgren wasn't riding with the idea of chasing a pro contract and he doesn't have to worry about his future since he has secured a start with Française des Jeux already. After finishing 5th and 17th at the Junior World's in 2003 and 2004, he was recommended to Marc Madiot by his fellow compatriot Thomas Lövkvist and joined FDJ's training camp in December before riding for French amateur club Team U Nantes-Atlantique, for which he won two time trials and an Elite stage race overall. He's also the only Swedish rider who can say he's French Champion, because he took part in his team's success in the French cup when he rode the French TTT championship.
"I'm very happy with the way it went for my first season in France," Lindgren said. "I couldn't expect anything better than signing a pro contract so early. But I need to ride one more year as an amateur to develop properly before riding for FDJ." Lövkvist, who recently finished 4th overall in the Tour of Poland, aged just 21, also likes the idea to have "someone in the team to speak Swedish to."
Madiot said, "I've followed Johan in a time trial and I've seen straight away that this is another diamond to be polished." Lindgren's other option was to join Rabobank but he preferred to put his feet in Lövkvist's path.