This time last year, Clément Chevrier was shrugging off the disappointment of not turning pro with AG2R by getting ready to embark in a new adventure, that took him in the US, as the new rider of Bissell Development Team. There, he had some very strong results in stage races, proving he is one of the most talented U23 climbers. This didn’t go unnoticed, and Trek Factory Racing took him as a stagiaire for a couple of races, before IAM Cycling stepped in and signed the talented French rider for the next two years.
What did Clément Chevrier had to say about this move, his future plans, and his 2014 season? Find out more from the following interview.
– Clément, this year you’ve raced mainly in the US. How important were Axel Merckx and Bissell Development for you?
It was important to leave France, where I grew up, in order to learn and improve on my bike. It was more an experience of life than just a cycling program. For sure, I wanted to make improvements with the help of the race calendar, which is of high quality, even if it’s lighter. The main goal was to join a big team for 2015. Bissell was one important step of my career. Thanks to Axel and this program, I can speak English now – which is important in cycling and for my studies – and I also showed that I’m able to join and integrate in a foreign team. This is something rare for a French rider. In the US, I discovered new races, a new spirit, a different approach of cycling for everything and I also met a lot of nice people who are my friends now. I feel lucky to have lived this experience.
– What were your highs and lows during this season?
For the highs, I can say the Tour of California, which is such a great race! Also, my experience with Trek Factory Racing as a stagiaire and for sure my ride in the USA Pro Challenge. This race was a stepping stone in my career. I had a good time with the Bissell Development Team, my team mates and the staff in US. I have a lot of good memories. For the lows, I think of my Tour des Pays de Savoie in June with the French Team. It was a goal for me and I was really disappointed of my result. I can explain that because I had allergies with four days before the start and I was also without any races in my legs in the past five weeks. I trained a lot to have a good form, but I guess it wasn’t enough.
– Of all these results you’ve had, which is the one you are the most proud?
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge. To finish 12th overall and with the best young rider jersey was incredible, but maybe more important for me was to show that I’m able to fight against the best riders in the world and have good legs during a one-week race. Also, the result was important for my future, because I trained hard since the start of the season just for this race. In this race, my last with Bissell, I wanted to say thanks to Axel for his confidence, but also to the staff and riders.
– You’ve recently signed with IAM Cycling. What’s the story of this transfer?
I was interested in IAM Cycling since last year, as I followed this team since the beginning. But the problem with me was I’m not Swiss and their priority is to have Swiss neo-pros. Finally, after Colorado and during the Vuelta, IAM Cycling came to me to find out if I was still interested. The decision was made at the end of the Vuelta, but I learned that just before the Grand Prix de Wallonie, which I did with Trek.
– What means for you to make this step to the pro ranks?
It’s a new start, totally new and in my head this is the real start of my career. The dream I’ve had since I was 5-years-old came true. But I have to keep my focus in order to do other good things in the future. Hopefully, the best is yet to come.
– Did you get to talk to the team management about the expectations they have from you in the first season?
No, I don’t know the expectations of the team, I still have to talk with the management about this. I know that we want to build something together over the next years, and IAM can help me discover myself in the pro peloton.
– Which races would you like to do?
It’s difficult to say which races I aim for, but what I do know is that I want to discover myself on the World Tour, in one-week stage races, but also in the Ardennes Classics, that I love so much and where I can learn a lot, and why not, to see if I am able to ride a Grand Tour. I want this experience to be productive for the future. I have to talk with the team about my program and I have total confidence in the staff and Rik Verbrugghe, the new sport manager. Another goal will be to help the team and learn from our leaders: Sylvain Chavanel, Heinrich Haussler, Matthias Frank, Sebastien Reichenbach and Stefan Denifl.