Pineau lowers aim for 2006

Tipped for big things last year, Jérome Pineau ended the season with talk of quitting and 'cycling a

Tipped for big things last year, Jérome Pineau ended the season with talk of quitting and 'cycling a

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Bouygues Telecom's Jrome Pineau, who admitted he ended last season depressed at his lack of success and became the latest French rider to speak of 'cycling at two speeds', is set to go into the new season with his sights lowered considerably compared to last year. Long tipped as one of his country's brightest hopes, Pineau failed to make a significant breakthrough last season, and ended it with his motivation for the sport totally gone and talking about premature retirement.

However, the 27 year old's motivation has since been restored by the prospect of becoming a father to a baby girl due in March. Speaking on Thursday at his team's presentation in Boulogne-Billancourt on the outskirts of Paris, Pineau admitted in an interview with AFP that the news of his daughter's imminent arrival "has given me wings. Last year I lost these on the road. I went to the Tour of Poland with my suitcase and legs, but without my head. I was very run down and also had health problems. I was told that I was OK and I believed that."

Late in the season, Pineau spoke freely about his disappointment, and stated that part of it was down to what he believed was doping within other ProTour teams. Asked to comment on whether he thought that cycling is still run 'at two speeds', he responded: "I would be lying if I said no. I have the feeling that it exists. But I've been told to avoid that and advised not to say any more about it.

"I have to think about my family. I've only got six years left and consequently I'm going to stop being fussed about people who aren't worth the effort - the bad people in the peloton."

Pineau admitted his first step will be to lower his expectations this season. "I am going to start again from zero with the hope of being selected for the Tour de France and of making a mark or two like Anthony Geslin did at the Worlds."

He said he was looking forward to a Tour that should offer more opportunities than previously. "Stages used to be firmly tied up by Lance Armstrong's team, and there will now be more openings for all of us. I will only have to pedal and my head will start to follow as well."

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