Damien Girard is the last called to Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur. Initially recruited by VC Rouen 76 (see here), the former resident of CC Nogent-sur-Oise finally joined the Continental team of the Alpes-Maritimes in early November (read here). “I was surprised, Nice contacted me at the last moment around mid-October. It was under consideration for three weeks, then they gave their agreement. I think I had a good season as amateurs, it gave me this opportunity. The project of being able to move up to the Continental level to discover the pro peloton interested me“declare to DirectBike the 21-year-old Loir and Cherien.
The winner of the Tour Nivernais Morvan will make his baptism of fire from this Wednesday on the Étoile de Bessèges. “I can’t wait to start the race with great pros next to me. It’s a dream come true. It’s going to be weird. I’ll have my little thrill at the start”. With what role? ” I do not know. I will discover and help the team. If I have the opportunity to put my nose out the window, take a breakaway or play a result, I will try. Before talking about performance, I have to take some cash, and gradually build my skills”.
Damien Girard is aware that another world awaits him. “You have to stay humble and be honest with yourself. The pro level is very high. Maybe I’ll be several tons below or I can get a Top 20 on one stage. I do not know yet. It’s a reset. We can come back as amateurs the following year. I have to prove to try to make a career”. Nice is a step in its process. “It’s a springboard to be able to climb to the next level. As we talk about it with the manager, the goal is not to stay here for five years, but to discover and then perform to pass above. I come out of my cocoon by going from amateur to Conti, it can make me climb even more”.
His winter went well. “On a well-worked with regular steps. I think I’m ready. I rode with teammates who have a higher level, it allows you to progress. The current passed very quickly, they give advice. We chained the kilometers, the training sessions were more intensified”. Hope 4 was able to find Julian Lino, newcomer to Nice, rubbed shoulders with Nogent-sur-Oise in 2020 and 2021. “We knew each other very well. This winter, we did a weekly flatshare together in Cagnes-sur-Mer. I did a few shuttles with Loir-et-Cher in November and since mid-December, I’ve been there non-stop. I will try to take a full-time apartment to live here, close to my other teammates to ride together”.