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"The main goal will be the French championships. After that I am motivated each time that I take part in a race as all races are important. To resume, I will try to be consistent and keep this level until the end of the year."

Photo: DPPI Press / Faugère-Curutchet




13.04.2015 @ 09:00 Posted by Joseph Doherty

One of the stars of the early season has been Julien Loubet, a man who, before signing for Team Marseille 13-KTM this offseason, hadn’t had a team since 2011 when AG2R didn't resign him.


But the comeback king has been on fire, winning the Mountians jersey at the Etoile de Besseges, taking 12th on GC at the Criterium International, plus finishing second in the Classic Sud Ardeche. But he really announced he was back when he beat in-form Pierrick Fedrigo to take Paris-Camembert last weekend.


The 30-year-old Frenchman spoke to about his great return to cycling and why he hasn’t raced since 2011.

He and his new team first cam into contact last summer and the team, who have a great squad for a Continental team, with Loubet, Remy Di Gregorio, Ignatas Konovalovas, Evaldas Siskevicius and Julien El Fares, were instantly keen to sign him.


"I got in touch with Team Marseille 13 KTM last summer to apply for the 2015 team. We were both interested and very enthusiastic. We made it straight after the first meeting."


He revealed he stopped riding in 2011 with AG2R as he didn’t want to be a pro cyclist anymore, and that has only changed recently. He says he never stopped racing while he got his diploma, making a career for himself after cycling.


"I never stopped riding to be honest. I became Professional very young and I didn’t want to keep up with my career so we both agreed with AG2R to not renew my contract. The first year was dedicated to get a diploma in Aeronautics while riding at the highest French amateur level. Then, I was fully focused on racing with my team Blagnac and I enjoyed it so much. I won 14 races last year and among them the GC of the Tour of Morocco plus 2 stages, the Tour of Basse-Navarre and a 3rd place on the French amateur TT championship."


When asked what he did this offseason to keep himself in such great shape for his return, he pointed to the fact that he never stopped racing and also the fact that he only had a short break between his 2014 season and his 2015 season.


"As I told you, I actually never stopped riding and during the last three years at the amateur level I rode about 25 000 kms per year and for instance the Tour of Morocco was a more than a week race. This keep you up in good shape for sure.”


“This year, I only took two weeks off last winter and started straight away the pre-season preparation with Team Marseille 13 KTM. I also decided to add on top my usual training specific workouts as home trainer sessions to improve my speed and pedaling technique. This was new to me and I felt the benefits straight away during the first races. On the other hand, I am in a different spirit than my first experience in the professional peloton as I feel more confident and I take more initiatives to finish every single race without any regrets. I have to admit that I am having a lot of fun at the moment and it is obviously part of the success."


He was already catching the eye of many people, but the win in Paris-Camembert, one of the hardest events in the Coupe de France race series, showed just how good he was.


"To me, this race is definitely part of the toughest French classic races. Also, the race profile suited me, that is why I wanted to perform in this one. On the other hand, what means a lot to me is to have performed against the best French riders like Voeckler and Fedrigo."


But its no surprise he can beat such quality riders, he has after all ridden four Grand Tours (2 Giro, 2 Vuelta) and ridden 7 Monuments. He has also won before, in the 2010 Tropicale Amissa Bongo, finishing third in the GC too. He also was fourth in an edition of the Vuelta a Burgos overall too. He spoke on what his goals were for the rest of the season.


"The main goal will be the French championships. After that I am motivated each time that I take part in a race as all races are important. To resume, I will try to be consistent and keep this level until the end of the year."


He has quality and consistency and there will certainly be many bigger teams looking to sign the experienced Frenchman this offseason. However, if he has as much fun and as much success in the rest of 2015 as he has had so far, don’t be surprised to see him stay at Team Marseille 13-KTM. One thing is for sure: Julien Loubet, the comeback king is back.




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