Forced to pull out from the Tour of the Mediterranean with a broken wrist last month, Christophe Le Mével has recovered on time for Paris-Nice, which was his first goal for the 2011 season since he transferred from FDJ to Garmin-Cervélo.
"I've had a very hard week with no training at all," said the Frenchman who wore a splint after the crash. "I rode the Tour du Haut-Var but mostly to please the organiser as I was the defending champion. It didn't go well at all. Fortunately, in the past two weeks, I've done exactly the training I wanted to. The positive feelings on the bike are back. The tests I underwent let me know where I stand. I hope for staying out of troubles in the first few stages of Paris-Nice and come back strong at the end of the week."
Two years ago, Le Mével finished tenth overall at Paris-Nice prior to getting the same result at the Dauphiné and the Tour de France but his 2010 season was more troublesome. It started with two spectacular crashes at Paris-Nice. He finished on a good note at FDJ with a fifteenth place overall at the Vuelta a Espana.
"I feel super at Garmin-Cervélo", he told Cyclingnews on the start line of stage 1 of Paris-Nice in Houdan. "I've fit in very quickly in the group. I haven't done many races yet but I'm looking forward to do more and more with this team. I want to show that I have my place there."
"My main target will be to finish the Giro d'Italia in the top 10", he announced. "If for some reason, I'd lose positions, then I'd try to get another stage win there." In 2005, Le Mével won stage 17 of the Giro d'Italia while riding for Crédit Agricole. He also met Laura who is now his wife. "Italy is my second country", said the Breton rider who has recently moved to Lugano near the Italo-Swiss border.
Best Frenchman of the 2009 Tour de France, he's not scheduled for the French biggest event this year as Garmin-Cervélo is full of talents, especially for the sprints. "I hope to ride the Tour de France again in my career", said the 30 year old. "But this year, I prefer to go for the Giro. It's gonna be a great Giro with all these mountain top finishes and all the great riders who announce they'll take part in. I hope to be at my best in May this year."