As 2012 draws to a close, it is time to shed some light on my plans for 2013: I will be competing for UC Aubenas, a French National Division 3 team based in Aubenas, small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees.
After a season racing in Belgium, the Mecca for cycling, I knew I needed a change in order to succeed. Although the savagely hard racing leads to great improvement in all aspects of bike racing skills, the flat roads and crazy racing style was not really up my street and, at the end of the day, if you want to progress in the sport you simply have to win races. With that in mind, I knew it was time to go in search of the hills and mountains I have always dreamed of racing and winning in.
The terrain I was looking for left me with two options: France and Spain. With Spain really struggling economically, the stories of cancelled races and shortened tours made me wary but, on the flip side, Spain offers good quality hilly racing. France, on the other hand, has highly structured team racing and hilly terrain but don’t take foreigners easily. I decided to send applications to both countries and I was very happy to get a ride with the French UC Aubenas Team.
UC Aubenas has a good reputation, a solid appealing race calendar, and great support for international riders so I knew it was the right place for my 2013 season. The team competes in a wide range of race categories: the French National Cup series against other teams on our tier; races against all other amateur teams; and Elite National races which are open to all riders of all levels. There are also a few scheduled tours which I am really looking forward to as well.
Changing teams and countries is always a gamble but I think for 2013 it is really going to pay off. Racing in my favourite terrain will hopefully lead to some big results and some progress up the ladder of professional cycling. Plus, living in the south of France is a bit of a bonus 😉