Sunday, September 13, 2009

Romain Sicard's Win

Back in 2006 we had the chance to spend a few days during the summer in the northern Basque town of Hazparne and during a road trip to Mauleon we had the chance to see a number of cyclists going up and down the steep hills of Iparralde. Well, today at Velo News they have this note about Romain Sicard, a Basque rider who just won a competition called Avenir:

Sicard wins Avenir, Van Garderen second

American Tejay van Garderen wrapped up an excellent Tour de l’Avenir with second place overall in the nine-stage U23 race across northern France.

Despite a challenging circuit in Besançon in Sunday’s final stage, there was no shaking race winner Romain Sicard (France A). Dutch rider Van Winden won the stage.

Van Garderen’s second overall was the best U.S. result at the prestigious Avenir race since Kevin Livingston was second to Frenchman Laurent Roux in 1997.

“Thanks USA team and staff,” Van Garderen wrote on Twitter. “Second overall at Tour de l’Avenir. No time to relax. Mendrisio, here we come!”

Van Garderen will race with Columbia-HTC next season and will line up later this month for a shot at the U23 world title in Switzerland.

Tenth overall last year, Peter Stetina also rode well throughout the week to cap an excellent performance by the American squad.

Sicard won Saturday’s time trial, just three seconds ahead of Van Garderen, to secure the overall title.

He becomes the first French rider to win the Avenir since Sylvain Calzati in 2004.

“It’s a great satisfaction to win the Tour de l’Avenir, the most important victory of my amateur career,” Sicard said. “It was difficult every day because we were forced to carry the weight of the race on our shoulders.”

Sicard will join many of the top amateurs heading to the pro ranks next year and he has already signed a deal to join Euskaltel-Euskadi for 2010.

Sicard, who hails from the Basque region of France, is just the second French rider to race with the Basque-backed team.

Hopefully Romain will contribute to Euskaltel Euskadi's stands during the 2010's Tour de France.

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