Canada’s David Veilleux recently announced his position with the French Professional Continental team Europcar for 2011. The former Kelly Benefit Strategies rider will join his new teammates at an opening training camp from December 10-17 in Valencia, Spain.
“I am pleased to announce that I will join the French team Europcar for the 2011 season,” Veilleux said on his personal website. “I will therefore race at the highest level of my sport and have the chance to ride with experienced riders such as Thomas Voeckler, winner of the Grand Prix of Quebec and a stage of the Tour de France in 2010, and Anthony Charteau, polka dot jersey winner at the 2010 Tour de France. This move to a European team at the international level represents a childhood dream, but also a reward for all these years of hard work and sacrifice.”
Europcar agreed to a three-year title sponsorship that replaced BBox Bouygues Telecom, led by manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau. Veilleux began negotiations with the team in October and is now one of 22 riders that includes Voeckler and Charteau. He met with several of his new teammates last week in Nantes, France.
“I tried to find a few options toward the end of the year to see if there were any opportunities to race overseas,” Veilleux told Cyclingnews. “The contact with Europcar came in late but once we started talking it became a team that I would really fit in well with. It is a French team and they have a really good organization and will be invited to many races so I thought it would be good for me.”
Veilleux noted that he does not expect to take part in the Tour de France, should the team receive an invitation, but he does expect to be one of a ten-man team designated to compete in the Spring Classics. He will also target the Canadian National Road and Time Trial Championships events.
“We haven’t had the calendar decided yet because as a Pro Continental team they are still waiting for invites,” Veilleux said. “They haven’t confirmed all our races yet but they told be I would be on a squad that would do most of the Classics at the beginning of the year.”
“I don’t know what to expect but maybe I will have a chance to do races like Paris-Roubaix or Tour of Flanders,” he added. “It is really exciting and I am motivated to train hard. It feels good to be going from doing races like the Tour of Elk Grove to doing races like the Classics in Europe. It will be a really good experience.”
Europcar will be outfitted with the Quebec City-based Louis Garneau for clothing and helmets during the season. It is a company that Veilleux knows well having competed under the under its banner as an amateur and elite racer.
“I started my career racing in front of their factory in Quebec City,” Veilleux said. “I started as an amateur in Quebec on their team and then the first team I raced for in the US, Jittery Joe’s, was sponsored by them. I’ve had a really good contact with them and so I am happy to race for that company again.”
Veilleux competed for the US-based Continental team Kelly Benefit Strategies for the past three seasons. He is the current Canadian National Criterium Champion and has won a series of North American events including the US Pro Criterium Championships, Presbyterian Hospital Invitational Criterium, Tour of Elk Grove, Fitchburg Longsjo Classic and the Tour of Utah’s sprint competition.
“I would like to take the opportunity to thank my team of the last three years, Kelly Benefit Strategies,” Veilleux said. “My experience with this team enabled me to progress greatly with the advices of the sporting director Jonas Carney and all of my teammates. I really appreciated racing with these guys.”
Europcar will host a second training camp from January 6-13 followed by a team presentation on January 14 in Paris, France.