Beleaguered French cycling outfit Cofidis will be looking to French riders Cyril Lemoine and Julien Simon to lift the team this season after a difficult 2013.
“I’m not worried,” insisted Cofidis Competitions president Thierry Vittu on Friday. “Our riders are worth more than the slim results from 2013 – 9 wins. We were hit by bad luck and illness it’s true but we didn’t find the strength to bounce back completely,” added team official Yvon Sanquer.
The team, in the peloton since 1997, are now counting on Lemoine and Simon to bring some punch to the sprints and classics.
“It’s not about putting too much pressure on the riders who are responsible men,” said Sanquer. “They are aware of having failed for various reasons. We’ve analyzed things from a physiological and medical point of view which is necessary before we can think about building a performance.”
French rider Jerome Coppel and Estonia’s Rein Taaramae, who had been expected to challenge both had disappointing seasons.
“It wasn’t an easy season, I had a lot of glitches,” said Coppel, 27. Taaramae, 26, said he was hopeful the mononucleosis which hampered him for two seasons was now behind him.
Both are expected to line up in the Paris-Nice race from March 9-16, alongside Spaniard Dani Navarro, who finished ninth in the Tour de France, with Nicolas Edet winner of the climbers’ jersey in the Tour of Spain.
“Paris-Nice is important but more importantly we want to be present from the outset, take every opportunity to be in the front line,” said Sanquer, with an eye on the annual 10million euro investment of on-line credit company line Cofidis which ends in 2016.