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"Here I have arrived in a group where Bryan Coquard wants me in his train. So I'm not afraid. We can make a nice pair. I can also play my own card in some races."

Photo: A.S.O.

ADRIEN PETIT

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DIRECT ENERGIE

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22.12.2015 @ 07:00 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

In 2011, Adrien Petit signed his first professional contract with Cofidis. Five seasons later, the Frenchman has opted for a change of scenery by joining Direct Energie, despite having other opportunities in France and abroad. It could be a turning point in the career of the 2011 U23 vice world champion who had his best year in 2014 when he won Tro Bro Léon and had his first participation in the Tour de France. 

 

This season 25-year-old Petit decided to answer the call from Bryan Coquard and Direct Energie manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau. Already well integrated into the team, he will make his debut in January at the Tropicale Amissa Bongo where he won his first professional race in 2013.

 

“I needed a change and Bryan (Coquard) contacted me because he wanted me at his side,” Petit tells Velopro.net about his reasons for his move. “Bernaudeau also called me and was very convincing. I made the choice to accept the offer, and I do not regret it. The group is close-knit, almost like a family, and that's what I wanted. This is quite different from Cofidis where there is also a good atmosphere. However, my level had started to stagnate. It's like a new start. The Direct Energie project is interesting and it motivates me.”
 

In 2015 Petit picked up a single win in the Tour de Luxembourg prologue. 

 

“I had a rather complicated season because I missed some targets,” he said. “On the other hand, I did my job for the team. I did the work until the end and I particularly helped Nacer (Bouhanni) to win the European Tour in October. I cannot say that the balance is disappointing. I had good results and I was very happy with my victory in that prologue. Surely, I would have liked to win another race or two.
 

“I got sick early in the season and I still did the Tours of Qatar and Oman while I was not at my best. I insisted despite this and it was tiring. Then I always had a wrong momentum and I suffered in the classics. I got healthy afterwards but then I was riding for the team.”

 

When he turned professional, Petit was widely regarded as a sprinter but he has now turned his attention to the classics.
 

“I like the classics very much and I know I have the qualities to do something there,” he says. “In the sprints I have to work for the leaders. I had my time to express myself, but I was not good enough.”
 

In 2015 Petit was a lead-out man for Nacer Bouhanni but he still got personal changes.

 

“I would not say that I was blocked [by his lead-out role],” he says. “Nacer has proven his qualities. I even had a nice program in addition to that role. It is true that sometimes it was harder to have my own space in races I like.”

 

The situation could be similar in his new team where Bryan Coquard is the star rider.
 

”It's different,” Petit says. “At Cofidis, everything was decided and Nacer had his regular train with Geoffrey Soupe and Dominique Rollin. Here I have arrived in a group where Bryan Coquard wants me in his train. So I'm not afraid. We can make a nice pair. I can also play my own card in some races.
 

“I will mainly focus on the classics period, from the opening weekend until Paris-Roubaix, with a special focus on Gent-Wevelgem. Then I hope to be in the Grand Tours to help Bryan.”

 

Despite his decision to leave Cofidis, there are no bad feelings.
 

“I even received many thanks, especially from [manager] Yvon Sanquer who was pleased with me,” Petit says. “He saw that I did the job for the team until the end in Putte – Kapellen (the Nationale Sluitingsprijs which Bouhanni won, ed.) when I had already signed my contract at Direct Energy. He said he would remember that. I established a very good relationship with the team and then I was a northerner in a northern team and that is always something.”
 

”[I will remember] my participation in my first Tour de France. Cofidis decided to trust me in 2014 and it is kind of an accomplishment for all riders who dream of one day doing the Tour. There was also the signature of my professional contract, just because it was the first.”

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