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Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

News for December 14, 2002 team presentation

December 13, 2002
Paris, France

By Chris Henry

Investing in the future
© CN
Click for larger image's 2003 line up was presented Friday, December 13 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, just down the road from the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. The team will include 21 riders for the coming season, including seven new arrivals. The youngest member of the team is Jérémy Roy, 19, while 35 year old Jacky "Dudu" Durand is the ranking FDJ veteran.

Directeur Sportif Marc Madiot expressed his satisfaction with the team's performances in 2002, with a tally of 25 victories which included the French national road title (Nicolas Vogondy), a Tour de France stage win (Brad McGee), two world track titles (McGee and Franck Perque), and the Coupe de France young rider classification (Sandy Casar).

The team's objectives will remain similar for 2003, with a heavy emphasis on the French racing calendar. A notable addition to Madiot's plans is the Giro d'Italia. Madiot explained that the team is anxious to give more riders a shot at a grand tour, and the Giro will provide the opportunity for those who won't necessarily ride the Tour de France in July. Meanwhile, the Coupe de France series and World Cup events such as Paris-Roubaix remain high on the list. Madiot also revealed that Baden Cooke is eager to make his mark at Milan-San Remo in March.

Of increasing importance to the team, and to self-proclaimed cyclo-cross lover Madiot, will be continued exposure in the 'cross scene. David Derepas, who joins the team after two seasons with Phonak, will carry the 'cross hopes for 2003, along with Sandy Casar and former national 'cross champion Christophe Mengin.

Cyclingnews had a chance to speak with Bradley Wiggins, taking some well deserved time off after a successful winter track campaign, about his objectives for the coming year. "Hopefully my objectives fit in with the team," he said, "but I'd like a ride in one of the two tours, either the Giro or the Tour de France. I'd like to do the Tour de France, more so for Baden (Cooke) really. That group we have with Brad and the others setting up sprints with Baden is quite a big objective, and I'm happy with that. Then a lot of other little races for myself, like prologues...maybe Paris-Nice again."

© CN
Click for larger image

As for the master of the long escape, Jacky Durand, when can we expect his first attack of the 2003 season? "In general, that comes with the first race! So that'll be in Australia at the Tour Down Under in January, and I'll certainly try to attack then." Durand's other objectives include Paris-Roubaix, the French national championships, the Tour de France, and Paris-Tours.

Durand has won two World Cup classics, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Tours, although he doesn't expect to repeat at Flanders. "I'll do the Tour of Flanders to get in the kilometers for Paris-Roubaix, but even if I've won Flanders before, it remains out of reach and I don't think I'd be able to do it again. So, I'll concentrate on Paris-Roubaix."

The Australian contingent of Cooke, McGee, and Wilson missed the presentation, preferring the summertime down under. Nonetheless, all three received praise from both Madiot and the president of the Française des Jeux lottery, who explained that the camaraderie and spirit of teamwork fostered by the Aussies was second to none.

Française des Jeux has committed sponsorship of the team through 2004, with a possible extension through 2005. The national lottery is quite pleased with its investment in the team, which it measures both through inscriptions and traffic on the Internet site, as well as through commercial success and the company's perceived image throughout the country.

When the team changed its name to, to promote the lottery's web site, the response couldn't have been better. At the same moment the new team strip was unveiled, Nicolas Vogondy appeared on television screens throughout France claiming victory in the national road championships. The next month on the roads of the Tour de France, Brad McGee gave the team a well-earned stage victory. Over the course of the summer, inscriptions on the pay-per-use section of the web site doubled, to the great satisfaction of the Française des Jeux directors. The team remains committed to finding and developing young talent, reflected in the fact that over half of the 2003 roster signed their first pro contract with the team.

FDJ's Lapierre
© CN
Click for larger image

Finally, no major changes on the equipment front. The team will continue to ride Shimano-equipped Lapierre bikes, with Shimano wheels and Michelin Pro Race clinchers.

The roster for 2003:

Sandy Casar
Jimmy Casper
Baden Cooke
Carlos Da Cruz
David Derepas
Jacky Durand
Bernhard Eisel
Nicolas Fritsch
Philippe Gilbert
Frédéric Guesdon
Régis Lhuillier
Bradley McGee
Christophe Mengin
Mickaël Pichon
Jean-Cyril Robin
Jérémy Roy*
Fabien Sanchez*
Benoît Vaugrenard
Nicolas Vogondy
Bradley Wiggins
Matthew Wilson

* Will turn pro in August, 2003, after finishing their studies





(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2002)