Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) will race four rounds of the mountain bike World Cup this season as he bids to compete in two disciplines at the 2012 Olympics.
The Frenchman, who turned to the road after winning a mountain bike silver medal in Beijing, admitted that he would like to earn selection for both the time trial and the mountain bike cross country race in London next year.
“The Olympic programme is good on paper,” Peraud told L’Équipe. “The time trial is at the beginning of the Games and the mountain bike comes at the end. It’s doable, but at the same time it’s a long way from being realised.”
Peraud is circumspect about the possibility of the dream becoming a reality, however, and insisted that the principal motivation behind racing in the mountain bike World Cup this year is to complement his work on the road. The 34-year-old will ride the Dalby Forest and Offenburg rounds of the competition to prepare for the Criterium du Dauphiné, and he is also set to ride in Novo Mesto and Val di Sole in August.
As he has lost all of his mountain bike ranking points, Peraud will start his first races at the back of the field.
“It will be hard to get into the top 10,” he admitted. “But if I’m returning to the mountain bike, it’s above all to work towards the road.”
Peraud joined Ag2r-La Mondiale after a season with Omega Pharma-Lotto, and he is grateful to his new team for giving him the opportunity to race off road, and even allowing him to use a bike of his own choosing, made by New Cycling. However, Peraud acknowledged that he has a very specific role to fulfil on the road.
“Ag2r-La Mondiale signed me to be a leader in the stage races,” he said.
After finishing 4th at the Tour of the Basque Country and 10th at Paris-Nice last year, Peraud got his 2011 road campaign off to a strong start with second place at the Tour Méditerranéen behind David Moncoutié (Cofidis).