Moncoutie won stage 8 of the 2010 Vuelta. Photo: Graham Watson |

David Moncoutié — the veteran French rider on Cofidis — is taking aim at a record fourth King of the Mountains jersey at the Vuelta a España.

Moncountié, likely riding in his final season as a pro, is on good form after a disappointing Tour de France. He won the Tour de l’Ain last week with a strong attack over the Grand Colombier summit, and decided to put the Vuelta on his racing calendar.

“In my mind, it was game over at the end of the Tour de France,” he said in an interview with Vuelta organizers.

“I was disappointed. I hadn’t found the solution for winning a stage. I was affected by the bad weather and I was tired before the mountains. Except for my second place in stage 13 in Lourdes, I didn’t get anything from my efforts. I’ve wanted to participate in the Tour de France to make it 10 and that was supposed to be my last grand tour.”

One week after the finish in Paris, Moncoutié already had recovered physically but he preferred to check out his feelings at the Tour de l’Ain prior to making a decision regarding his participation to the Vuelta.

“I’ve discussed with my employers and my teammates”, he said. “I understood that Cofidis wanted me to be there. I presume that my past results at the Vuelta have inclined the organizers to allocate a wild card to Cofidis. This is one more reason for me to go for it. However, I’m not going just to help my team but to win at least one stage.”

Moncoutié will also target the polka dot jersey for what would be a record fourth time.

Four Spaniards have won the king of the mountains competition three times in a row before him: Antonio Karmany (from 1960 to 1962), Julio Jimenez (1963-1965), Jose Luis Laguia (1981-1983) and Jose Maria Jimenez (1997-1999).

“There are more points awarded at the big uphill finishes,” the Frenchman noted. “I’ll take it into consideration. Rather than going in many breakaways, I’ll calculate my efforts a bit more. My priority remains to win a stage though. The Anglirù is a bit too steep for me. It suits other climbers more than me. But I dream to win stage 4 at the top of the Sierra Nevada.”

Moncoutié said he’s leaving the door open for one more season in the pro ranks, but will not decide his future until after the Vuelta is over.

What’s sure, he’s ridden his 10th and final Tour de France in July.

“I’ll decide in the coming month whether or not I continue my career for one more year,” concluded the cyclist who began with Cofidis in 1997 and never changed team since. “I won’t ride the Tour de France anymore, I’ll give way to the younger guys. I’ll probably be part of the bunch again in 2012. I don’t think that my team will hire a big leader…”