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"This is a difficult year to find a new team. I am one of 10 to leave AG2R-La Mondiale. And there is not much to be found elsewhere. For my part, I still hope, even if the teams are starting their training camps are almo...

Photo: Crosnier-Lemaitre-Curutchet / KMSP




17.11.2016 @ 18:42 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

This weekend, Sébastien Minard will participate in a cyclo-cross race organized in honor of his best friend Arnaud Coyot, who died in 2013. The race comes at a very difficult time for the Frenchman. He admits that it is a chance to focus on something else and avoid falling into a deep hole. For several weeks, he has known that he won’t be wearing the Ag2r colour in 2017 to change siscipline, to soothe the soul and above all have a good time in a period a little more complicated to live. Retirement may now be looming for the 34-year-old but he does not want to give up unless he has tried everything.


"I still have no contract for 2017,” he told “I am still in discussion for next year with some teams. I still want to ride. For now, it is very difficult and there are not many places. This is a difficult year to find a new team. I am one of 10 to leave AG2R-La Mondiale. And there is not much to be found elsewhere. For my part, I still hope, even if the teams are starting their training camps are almost all complete." 


Minard may be considering a foreign pro continental team.


"In France, everything is a bit difficult,” the former Cofidis rider said. “I do not underestimate the continental level, but I do not want to ride just to have a jersey on the back. I want to have a goal.


The former winner of Paris-Camembert envisages himself continuing for another two seasons. 


"Unfortunately, if I have to stop, I will accept it and take another path,” For now, it is a question mark.”


Minard tries to maintain his form with the cyclo-cross races. 


"Last time, I did a cross, knowing that it was perhaps my last months as a pro. I enjoy it and it makes me happy. I'm a little split between keeping my level and hope until the end of December and also trying to enjoy my last moments. In late December, I'll maybe have news that will tell me to keep going until mid-January. But you do not believe in Santa Claus for ten years. Unfortunately, we must be realistic. The chances are minimal.”


While he is now trying to move on, Sebastien Minard has deep regrets about the end of his collaboration with AG2R-La Mondiale. Having taken 10th at Tro-Bro Léon and 24th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, he mainly did the job as a domestique which explains his bitterness.


"It is not easy to stop after 12 years in the pro ranks,” he said. “When it was decided, it was more complicated. AG2R-La Mondiale has not been very grateful for what I have done. I got a call and I was told that I would not continue, without really been given any reasons.  I did a proper season and I did the job I was given. I respected my domestique role as I have always done with a good level of form and an eyeon the objectives of the team. I thought that recognition was a key in the team.


"I think I have the quality to be present all the time from the beginning of the season and I can do any type of race. I think that if a team has a place for me, I want to have done the winter training. I prepare as if I was going to ride in January. And if it ends, I will still be pleased to have done a winter like this.” 


If he has to retire, the situation is much less clear. 


"There is some anxiety about the future. I'll maybe leave much of my professional life behind me. The transition is a bit complicated to handle when you have been ten years in the pro ranks and it did not work,” he said. “I need a project. And although I have quite a few things in mind, it is not easy. It does not happen like that. The situation is a bit difficult.”



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