With Cofidis out of the ProTour this year, team manager Eric Boyer had to use all of his persuasion skills to convince Giro d'Italia organiser Angelo Zomegnan to invite his outfit to the race. When the decision was made public in March, Boyer was relieved and happy to be able to continue to plan, with the team's leading climber David Moncoutié hoping to win the 'Maglia Verde', the overall mountains classification.
"We are very motivated to obtain results in this Giro," Boyer told Cyclingnews. "I had to push a bit for us to be allowed into the event, so we are clearly here to live up to our objectives, with David Moncoutié hoping to win a stage and become best climber. If he could also finish within the top ten or top 15 of the race, we'd appreciate it."
Having won the mountains classification twice in the Vuelta a Espana, the French climber will race the Giro for the very first time, but Boyer is certain that this would not be a disadvantage. "There are some climbers who had great results in the Giro these last few years who are not in the race today, because of some 'problems' they've encountered," he said, satisfied that the Biological Passport was bearing fruit. "David has all his chances against those who are in the race this year - to the contrary, I think it's his rivals that should be afraid of him rather than the other way round."
Moncoutié has not raced a lot this spring, but Boyer insisted that he didn't have to in order to be competitive. "He is in great condition, even if he hasn't shown it yet. We know where he stands in terms of training, and we are used to this situation. What he was able to show us has been very re-assuring."
With the 34-year-old out to challenge the high peaks of the Giro and certainly wanting to defend his title at the Vuelta later this year, the chance of seeing the climber in the Tour de France in July are becoming slimmer.
"Of course, he will not race three Grand Tours," said Boyer. "It depends on what happens at the Giro. If he finishes the race, and if he is in good condition after it, we will decide together if we sign him up for the Tour or not. If he wants to do it, we'll be happy to have him there. If not, he'll do the Vuelta.
"In any case, we did not include Moncoutié in our Giro line-up to prepare for the Tour. He's here to shine at this race, to obtain our goals. When I hear Bradley Wiggins saying that he'll abandon the Giro at some point to prepare for the Tour, I'd be furious at him if I were the organiser," the always-outspoken Boyer added.
As for Cofidis' further line-up at the Giro, the Frenchman also counts on Leonardo Duque for a possible stage victory. "But then we also have our Giro rookies such as Rémi Cusin and Kalle Kriit, who will ride this race for the first time. We hope that they will be present in breakaways and race dynamically," Boyer concluded.