Christophe Laporte has welcomed the arrival of Elia Viviani and a new lead-out train to the Cofidis team for the 2020 season, saying he’ll be happy to work for the Italian in the biggest races while chasing his own ambitions elsewhere.
Laporte has become the lead sprinter at Cofidis since Cedric Vasseur took the reins of team management in 2018 and pushed Nacer Bouhanni down the pecking order.
The 26-year-old has made big strides since then, winning 11 races and becoming the team’s chief breadwinner. However, the arrival of Viviani, the European champion and a stage winner in all three Grand Tours, sees a new leading figure and a new direction at Cofidis as the French teams steps up to WorldTour level.
“For sure it’s a good signing. He’s one of the best sprinters in the world, so it’s great news for the team,” Laporte told Cyclingnews at the Arctic Race of Norway.
“It’s a very French team, and he’s going to bring his experience from abroad, and also his demands. I hope he’ll help the team to make progress. I’ve heard good things about him, so I think it’s good for the team.”
Laporte hasn’t yet sat down with Vasseur to discuss his role for next year but sees himself as a secondary leader, rather than a support rider for Viviani.
He has prospered in the HC and Category 1 races and will likely target those again, while Viviani takes the lead at the Tour de France and the big WorldTour races. Cofidis are aiming to rise to WorldTour level, which would mean they have automatic spots in all WorldTour races, including all three Grand Tours and the big Classics.
“I still have my own personal ambitions, and I want to keep winning races,” Laporte said.
“If we become WorldTour, there are going to be a lot of races on the calendar. It’ll be important for the team to do well everywhere, so I think we can go separately for parts of the season.”
Viviani is bringing Fabio Sabatini with him from Deceuninck-QuickStep, and is adding another compatriot to his support network in Simone Consonni. Laporte doubts he fits into that lead-out train but did declare himself willing to play that role when required.
“I would have no problem working for him in the biggest races, like the Tour de France, in the pure bunch sprints. He’s one of the fastest riders in the world who has won races everywhere. I will happily work for him in those races but all year – I don’t think so,” Laporte said.
“He also brought teammates with him, like Sabatini and Consonni. It’s he who brought them here, so he has an idea in his head of riding with them. If I need to integrate into that lead-out train from time to time, there will be no problem.”