Campagnolo-using Cofidis, Crédits Solutions reveal their ambitions for the world’s greatest sporting event.
Legendary French team Cofidis, Crédits Solutions will line up at the 2021 Tour de France, which starts in Brittany on Saturday 26th June, for the 25th time and will be using arguably the finest groupset around – Campagnolo’s 12-speed Super Record EPS. They’ll be looking to draw on their years of experience to make their mark, like they did at their debut at La Grand Boucle.
Cofidis was founded in 1997 and that same year secured their first Tour de France stage victory, French rider Laurent Desbiens winning the 192km 11th stage from Andorra Arcalis to Perpignan. It’s been a rollercoaster ride ever since, but the team comes into the world’s biggest cycle race in high spirits off the back of Guillaume Martin’s recent victory at the one-day Mercan Tour Classic Alpes-Maritimes.
Confidence is growing and the team have ambitious plans, clearly seen by the recent announcement that they’ll launch a women’s team in 2022. Former rider and now general manager Cédric Vasseur is driving the venture with the goal of starting at the women’s Tour de France in 2022. He’s also the force behind the men’s team and, as you’ll discover, has grand targets for the men’s team, too.
INTERVIEW from Campagnolo to Cédric Vasseur
Cédric, thank you for your time. Who will head Cofidis, Crédits Solutions at this year’s Tour de France?
Guillaume Martin and Jesus Herrada will be our main riders in the mountains while Christophe Laporte is our main man for the sprint stages.
What are the team’s main aims?
Simply put – to win a stage of the Tour de France.
From the Cofidis’ point of view, are there any standout stages of this year’s Tour de France?
Of course, the goal for every climbing stage will be to win, starting with the first mountainous stage that finishes at Le Grand Bornand [the 150.8km eighth stage that starts from Oyonnax and features five categorised climbs]. We’re also confident that the skill and tactical acumen of Laporte can help us to a sprint win.
How have preparations been going?
Well, we’ve spent a great deal of time undertaking reconnaissance work, especially with Martin in the mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees. We’ve also had riders and staff cover the first four stage starts in Brittany, while the trainers have spent time at the time-trials [stage five – 27.2km from Changé to Laval Espace Mayenne; and stage 20 – 30.8km from Libourne to Saint-Emillion].
Has the team enjoyed a pre-Tour training camp?
Yes, the team had a training camp at Font Romeu before the Tour de France in May including Martin, Anthony Perez, Simon Geschke, Rubén Fernández and Pierre-Luc Périchon. We also had riders altitude train at Sierra Nevada. But the only rider altitude training at this precise moment is Martin, just before the French national road championships. This gives him not only time to enjoy the benefits of altitude but also to recover. After the national championships, it’ll all be about recovery in the lead-up to the Tour.
Finally, it’s been 13 years since Cofidis won a stage at the Tour de France. Why do you feel this is the year you will break that run?
It’s true that it’s been a long time since Cofidis won a stage of the Tour de France [in 2008 with Sylvain Chavanel]. But back then, Cofidis was racing in the top division [the ProTour, which would become the WorldTour in 2009], but we know that from 2010 the team moved down to ProContinental level, so it was difficult to attract the top riders. Since last year, however, we’ve been back in the WorldTour and enjoyed some good results. Martin won the mountains classification at the 2020 Vuelta a Espana and Victor Lafay won a stage of this year’s Giro d’Italia.
You must remember that the jump from the second to first division is a big one, especially in the Covid period because we signed really strong riders like Martin and Elia Viviani but could hardly work together for the first half of the year. Now, we’ve spent more time as a team and the gap has closed. We’re more used to the higher level and top speeds of the WorldTour. Now we are ready to battle. We are ready to win a stage of this year’s Tour de France.
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