Speaking to L'Équipe, Coppel said: "There is more than just the Tour and I'm rather happy to be able to concentrate on the second part of the season." He is now set to ride the Vuelta a España, but acknowledged that his contract may not be renewed at the end of the year.
"We will have to see if Cofidis want to focus entirely on sprinting," he said, alluding to their likely big money signing of Giro d'Italia points champion Nacer Bouhanni. "We need to discuss that, but I’'ve got quite a number of contacts and I'm not too worried even though I'm in a downward spiral at the moment and I'm finding it hard to get out of it."
Once presented as the new French hope for their national tour, 27-year-old Coppel has never reached the heights many predicted. Fourteenth in the 2011 Tour with Saur-Sojasun, he finished 63rd last year when he was billed as Cofidis' co-leader alongside Spaniard Dani Navarro.
Cofidis manager Yvon Sanquer said he felt Coppel might benefit from having less pressure on his shoulders by riding the Vuelta instead of the Tour. "Jérôme makes huge demands of himself and doesn't take things lightly," explained Sanquer. "He even feels guilty when his results aren't up to expectations."
Renowned during his two-year spell with Française des Jeux for doing things very much his own way, former cross-country ski champion Coppel has developed the same reputation at Cofidis. "Jérôme has got his own perspective on training," said Sanquer. "He is influenced by what he learned competing at a high level in cross-country skiing. Of course, there are lots of similarities between the two sports but not everything can be transferred so easily to cycling."
Coppel believes one of his key problems is the fact he's been put into a leadership role he never wanted. "They pushed me in that direction at Saur without me asking for it. I would rather target stage wins and help a big leader. That would really interest me," said the Frenchman.
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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