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Direct Energie Drops Antoine Duchesne for 2018

by John Symon

July 05, 2017 – Canada’s Antoine Duchesne who rides for French-based Direct Energie recently learned he needs to find a new team for 2018. The 25-year-old rider is presently home in Quebec recovering from sicknesses suffered earlier in the season; he received a telephone call from team manager Jean-René Bernardeau last week with the news.

Antoine Duchesne  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
By email, Duchesne indicated that he was surprised with the news as Bernardeau had previously indicated everyone on the team would get an offer in June. But Duchesne admits “perhaps making a mistake” by dealing with an independent agent who helps to place riders on different teams, something that Bernardeau considers treasonous.

Pedal readers will remember that in 2015 the team did not revealed it had a title sponsor for the following season until October. Following such uncertainty, Duchesne reached out to the agent in 2016 and did not let Bernardeau know what he had done.

Duchesne  ©  Peter Kraiker
Duchesne has been with Direct Energie (previously Europcar) since 2014 and, despite no major wins, he competed in two “Grand Tours” including the 2016 Tour de France where he was actually leading the Tour for a short time as part of a break on Stage 7 that eventually was caught. Duchesne finished 107th and also completed the 2015 Vuelta where he finished 138th.

Antoine Duchesne at the 2016 TdF  ©  Cor Vos

Duchesne made the cut for the Canadian team at the Rio Olympics 2016 road race and was the top Canuck at the 2015 UCI Road Worlds in Richmond, Virginia, finishing 61st.

Antoine Duchesne takes KOM  ©  A.S.O. / G. Demouveaux
Duchesne’s crowning accomplishment with Direct Energie was winning the King of the Mountain (KOM) polka dot jersey at the 2016 Paris-Nice, an achievement that punched his ticket to the TdF that year.

On July 4 of this year, Duchesne was supposed to take part in stage 5 of the iconic Mardis Cyclistes criterium series in Montreal, but bowed out. He is still about 7 kilos below his regular body weight according to QMI.

Duchesne is confident to find find another team on the WorldTour circuit in 2018. In the meantime, he expects to race for the Canadian team at the Grands Prix Cyclistes in Quebec City and Montreal in September.

Another Canadian, Ryan Anderson, also rides for Direct Energie and we contacted him but his status remains unconfirmed.

2016 interview with Duchesne about the KOM jersey here.

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