Mancebo aims for Tour podium

After Vuelta podium finishes in both of the last two seasons, Paco Mancebo is now aiming to achieve

After Vuelta podium finishes in both of the last two seasons, Paco Mancebo is now aiming to achieve


Following Monday's confirmation that the French Ag2r team has been awarded the ProTour licence freed up by Fassa Bortolo's withdrawal from the sport, new team leader Francisco Mancebo has declared his goal in the coming season is to finish on the podium of the Tour de France.

Admitting that he was "very happy" to hear the news about Ag2r's admission to the ProTour, the Spaniard also confessed that he also had some doubts about his new team getting into pro cycling's elite competition. "I thought that Ag2r would have no problems being invited, but that it would be difficult for us to get into the Vuelta, because their priority is to admit the second-ranking Spanish teams," Mancebo told AS.

With that concern now alleviated, Mancebo can concentrate of the races that used to be his main objectives with his former Illes Balears team - the Tour and the Vuelta. "With each season I move up another level and in this my goal will be to finish on the podium of the Tour, a race that on paper at least seems to be very open and exciting," he said.

Ag2r's entry into the ProTour has yet to be officially confirmed by the International Cycling Union, but team manager Vincent Lavenu has been told that everything is in order and that his team will have a four-year licence. The team's annual budget has been raised to 7.3m euros a season to cover the step up in standard.

"One of my best qualities is never to have doubts about things. My tenacity has paid off," Lavenu told L'Equipe. "Last year we didn't get a licence but we kept building something solid. This is a fantastic reward."

- Apologies to site users for the relative lack of information over recent days which was due to an office move in London. Lost cables have now been reconnected to computers and our coverage will return to normal.

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