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"I have decided to skip the Tour de France in 2014. It is my own choice. The Tour 2014 inspires me less than the Giro which seems more open, much like the Vuelta which has more stages for escapees and good breakaways that can make you...

Photo: Sirotti






06.12.2013 @ 18:17 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the past 5 years, the Tour de France has been the centrepiece of Maxime Bouet's season but that will change in 2014. The Ag2r-La Mondiale will skip his home race to ride the Giro whose course offers more possibilities for breakaways and aggressive racing.


Maxime Bouet made his debut in the Tour de France as a young 22-year-old Agritubel rider in 2009 and after joining Ag2r-La Mondiale 2010, the versatile rider has earned selection for the world's biggest race every year. However, that is set to change in 2014 when the Frenchman plans to line up in the Giro for the first time.


Bouet is known as a strong climber and a solid time trialist that can hold his own in weeklong stage races. This year he won a stage in the Giro del Trentino and finished 3rd overall, was 10th in the Tour of Oman and 7th in the Criterium International but the second part of his season was severely hampered by a bad crash that forced him to abandon the Tour de France.


However, Bouet will never be a winning candidate in the grand tours. He impressed by finishing 20th in last year's Vuelta a Espana but his chances of a high overall placing is likely to be reliant of him getting into a breakaway that will allow him to earn some time on his rivals. Moreover, his chances of a stage win are greatest from a successful escape.


Those considerations have now led him to chance his schedule and skip the Tour de France. Instead, he will do the Giro d'Italia which offers more opportunities for a rider like Bouet.


"I have decided to skip the Tour de France in 2014," he told "It is my own choice. The Tour 2014 inspires me less than the Giro which seems more open, much like the Vuelta which has more stages for escapees and good breakaways that can make you gain time on GC."


His decision has the complete support from team manager Vincent Lavenu.


"There are ten stages in the Tour that will end in a sprint, three or four summit finishes, a time trial and a maximum of two stages for breakaways," he said. "To gain time on GC from a breakaway is complicated in the Tour while a top 15 in the Giro or the Vuelta seems manageable."


In the Giro, Bouet will join forces with Domenico Pozzovivo who is the designated captain for the race.


"For the past few years, I have watched the Giro d'Italia on TV and I have always wanted to do it. It's a race that attracts me because it is for attackers. Sometimes the weather conditions are difficult, the fight is intense. You must stay focused every day. Carlos Betancur will do this year's Tour. I will go to the Giro d'Italia to support Domenico Pozzovivo."


Ag2r-La Mondiale has already announced its roster for the Tour Down Under and Bouet has been given the captaincy role.


"I was afraid that it would wear me down but my coach Benoit Nave who also has Simon Gerrans under his wings - he usually does both this race and the Paris-Nice - told me that if I'm serious and is focused on my diet, there is no reason to worry. It will not wear be down. Instead I will ride in the heat and get sharper. This can only be beneficial."


After the Tour Down Under, Bouet will return to Europe to do the Etoile de Besseges,  Tour du Haut Var, GP Lugano, Paris-Nice and Criterium International.


"Then I will take a small break," he added. "I plan to do the Giro del Trentino, the Giro and then the Dauphiné as I recover fast enough from a grand tour."


After the French championships, he will have another short break before returning "in the Tour de Pologne, the Tour de l'Ain and the Vuelta a Espana. I have a good program. I am happy to go back to the Vuelta because I had a very good result there two years ago."


Bouet's win in Trentino was his only one in 2013.



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