Cofidis’ David Moncoutié will be looking to match history as he makes a run for a third consecutive climber’s jersey at the Vuelta a España.
The French climber is looking to equal the mark held by Julio Jiménez, who was the Vuelta’s king of the mountains from 1963-65.
Moncoutié, who missed out on the Tour de France this year, says he likes the look of the climb-heavy 2010 Vuelta.
“I’ve looked at this year’s course going into the details and I like it. It’s hard and I’ll have several occasions for winning a stage,” he said in a Vuelta release. “I know how to be the king of the mountains again: to score a maximum of points in stage 3 and at the top of the Puerto de Leon, and count the points after that. But the thing is, I haven’t done the Tour de France this year, so I don’t know where I’m at in terms of fitness.”
The veteran Frenchman likes Spanish roads. He won the Clásica Alcobendas in 2002 and was victorious in a stage at the Vuelta al País Vasco in 2005. More importantly, he concluded the last two Vueltas with a stage win – in 2008 at Cerler and in 2009 at the top of the Sierra Nevada – victories that assured him to have the best climber jersey on his shoulders.
Moncoutié, 35, won the Route du Sud in June and was a major attacker at the French championship, but missed out on the Tour, something that gives him motivation to continue racing for at least another season.
He has decided to continue racing although he had set 2010 as his final year in the pro peloton. He changed his mind after having a quiet Giro and eventually feeling frustrated about missing the Tour.
“My contract for 2011 isn’t signed yet but I have an agreement with Cofidis”, Moncontié said. “I hope to come back to the Tour de France next year. That would be my 10th one. I haven’t been brilliant at the Giro. Before the start I guessed that I wouldn’t like this race and it’s the case. I never feel good in May and the weather conditions were pretty bad all the way. Stages were long on curvy roads with long transfers. Strangely I have never been good in Italy since the beginning of my career but I like Spain a lot.”
Cofidis will have two protected riders at the Vuelta: Moncoutié and Rein Taarämae. The Estonian was forced to pull in stage 13 of the Tour de France. The winner of Paris-Corrèze Mickaël Buffaz, Rémi Pauriol, Samuel Dumoulin, Arnaud Labbe, Romain Zingle, Christophe Kern and promising French neo-pro Tony Gallopin will complete the roster of Cofidis in Spain.
This is going to be Moncoutié’s 13th grand tour, but he hopes that it won’t be the last one.
Since he turned professional in 1997, Moncoutié has been in the same team with the same sponsor: Cofidis. Next year he’ll do his 15th season with the same jersey.
Frédéric Guesdon is in a similar situation. The winner of Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Tours also joined Française des Jeux in 1997 and still rides for the same team with the same sponsor but he turned pro with Le Groupement in 1995 and rode for Polti in 1996.
Spaniards José Vicente Garcia Acosta and Pablo Lastras also have had the same employer for a long time but different sponsors. Garcia Acosta started with Banesto in 1995, so did Lastras in 1998. The team later became Iles balears and Caisse d’Epargne.
Several riders haven’t changed outfit in 10 years. Samuel Sanchez is faithful to the orange colors of Euskaltel. Ludovic Turpin keeps riding for Ag2r and Sandy Casar for Française des Jeux. The three of them turned professional in 2000.