Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cazaux - It's hard to return to amateur ranks

After two seasons at Euskaltel that can be labelled either 'decent' or 'mediocre', depending on your point of view, Pierre Cazaux was deemed surplus to requirements by Igor González de Galdeano at the end of the 2012 season. Like fellow French-Basque Damien Branaa, he's forced to step down to the amateur level to make a living next year, and will spend at least one season riding for home team Blagnac. Speaking refreshingly honestly in today's Gara, the 29-year-old says it's mainly to be able to pay the bills.

"I'm not going to say I'm returning to the amateur ranks to have fun or whatever", he said bluntly. "I didn't want to make this step down or continue as a bike rider in this way, but I need money. Blagnac called me, asking me to ride for them and make money. It's very hard mentally, though, to go back to being an amateur after riding as a pro for five years. I'm not thinking about whether I can again be a professional in 2014. I'm working and riding my bike to earn a bit more money".

Cazaux came over from Francaise des Jeux in the winter of 2010, and has ridden three Grand Tours in his time with 'The Carrots'. Naturally, he cherishes those memories.

"It's been two good years, two years in which I've done the work I've been asked to do", he said. "It's been a very pleasant experience, and I want to extend my gratitude towards the Fundación Ciclista Euskadi and Miguel Madariaga.

"There were many good times. The 2011 Giro was very hard, with Wouter Weylandt's death and eight-hour stages with rain and cold, but also happy memories like the wins of Nieve and Antón on the most beautiful stages. As well I'll keep with me this year's Giro with the win of my roommate, Ion Izagirre, and the time we spent together. At Euskaltel, more than being team-mates, we were a group of friends".

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