French climber David Moncoutié has selected a new, prestigious goal for himself at this year's Tour de France. Instead of hoping for breakaway opportunities, which has brought him two stage wins at the Tour and one at last year's Vuelta, the Cofidis rider will focus on the mountains competition this year.
By winning the mountains classification at the 2008 Vuelta, Moncoutié proved to himself that he was able to make a continuous effort over three weeks and he now wants to have a go at the polka dot jersey in the French Grand Tour.
"Winning the jersey at the Vuelta gave me the idea to try for it at the Tour, too," he told Cyclingnews. "Moreover, the route this year is well-suited to attacks in the mountains. Three stages start with climbs right away, so I hope to be out front on those days."
Moncoutié knows that he will have to attack on the first KOM climbs of this Tour in order to stand a chance. "I will try for the polka dot jersey if I have the opportunity, if I can get some points in the first mountains. But I know that there are about 20 riders out there who have the same ambitions and abilities. We have seen in the past that the winner of the KOM competition is not necessarily a rider within the top ten of the general classification, so it's sort of my category. But I can't tell you who else will be up for it - it's too soon. We will see when we get to the Pyrenees," said Moncoutié.
After a disappointing spell Cofidis manager Eric Boyer is happy that his rider has recovered his winning spirit again. Moncoutié spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons off the bike due to injuries and almost quit the sport two years ago. "It wasn't me who told him to set himself this goal, I swear!" Boyer told Cyclingnews. "He suggested it, and I think he's now capable of it. He has to attack in the Pyrenees right away, then we will see how many points he can make. He needs to be in the top three [of the classification] by the end of the first week to remain in contention. If he is not, then he might let go of his goal and aim at a stage victory instead."
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