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French teams abandon GC hopes for stage wins in 2014 national tour

  • By Andrew Hood
  • Published Jun. 29, 2014
Thomas Voeckler will be chasing stage wins in the 2014 Tour de France. Photo: Tim De Waele | TDWsport.com

All five French teams have confirmed lineups for the upcoming Tour de France, with a heavy focus on national riders and a hunt for stage wins.

It’s been a long time since a Frenchman has won the Tour — Bernard Hinault was the last in 1985 — and it looks very unlikely a Frenchman will win again this year. A top-10 is something to cheer for these days in the French peloton.

Instead, the French teams seem resigned to being protagonists in the sprints and breakaways, and leaving the GC fight to the others.

The main problem for French riders is that none of their promising GC riders can effectively time trial. The best French GC result over the past decade — fourth with Thomas Voeckler (Europcar) in 2011 — came thanks to gains he earned in a big breakaway.

Most of the French teams will bring mixed squads, with a balance of stage-hunters and a candidate or two for the top 10 if things go well.

Spanish rider Dani Navarro will lead Cofidis’s GC hopes, aiming to improve on his ninth overall last year, while Europcar is betting on Pierre Rolland, who rode to a solid fourth at the Giro d’Italia.

FDJ doesn’t even pretend to have GC ambitions, and will bring a squad to support freshly crowned French champion Arnaud Démare in the sprints.

Ag2r-La Mondiale, which will start without the services of Colombian Carlos Betancur, will bring Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet in a push for the top 10.

Wild-card squad Bretagne-Séché will lean on the Feillu brothers to notch some results against the WorldTour powerhouses.

In addition to Démare, Samuel Dumoulin (Ag2r), Romain Feillu (Bretagne-Séché), and Bryan Coquard (Europcar) will try their respective luck in the bunch sprints. FDJ left Nacer Bouhanni at home, fueling speculation that he is off the team next season. Bouhanni, who won three stages and the points jersey during the Giro d’Italia, has been linked to Cofidis.

Other French riders hoping to bear fruit in the GC will include Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), who will be looking to improve on his 10th-place Tour debut in 2012.

Eternal battler Voeckler is back for his 12th consecutive Tour start. In 2004, Voeckler wore the yellow jersey for 10 days, and won the climber’s jersey in 2012. His fourth place overall in 2011 was his career-best, but the 35-year-old Voeckler will revert to a stage-hunter role for this Tour.

In fact, a stage victory is what most of the French riders will be aiming for. Romain Bardet and Christophe Riblon (both Ag2r), Luis Maté and Rein Taaramae (both Cofidis), and Yukiya Arashiro (Europcar) will be looking to win out of breakaways.

Among the bigger names missing from the French squads include Bouhanni, Betancur, Jérôme Coppel (Cofidis), former U23 world champion Romain Sicard (Europcar), and four-time stage-winner Pierrick Fedrigo (FDJ).

Bretagne-Séché and FDJ both bring all-French lineups for the Tour.

French teams for the Tour de France, July 5-27

Ag2r-La Mondiale

Romain Bardet (FRA)

Mickael Chérel (FRA)

Samuel Dumoulin (FRA)

Ben Gastauer (LUX)

Biel Kadri (FRA)

Sébastian Minard (FRA)

Matteo Montaguti (ITA)

Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA)

Christophe Riblon (FRA)

 

Bretagne-Séché

Jean-Marc Bideau

Anthony Delaplace

Brice Feillu

Romain Feillu

Armindo Fonseca

Arnaud Gérard

Florian Guillou

Benoit Jarrier

Florian Vachon (all FRA)

 

Cofidis

Nicolas Edet (FRA)

Egoitz Garcia (ESP)

Cyril Lemoine (FRA)

Luis Angel

Maté (ESP)

Rudy Molard (FRA)

Daniel Navarro (ESP)

Adrien Petit (FRA),

Jérôme Simon (FRA)

Rein Taaramae (EST)

 

FDJ.fr

William Bonnet (FRA)

Mickaël Delage (FRA)

Arnaud Démare (FRA)

Arnold Jeannesson (FRA)

Matthieu Ladagnous (FRA)

Cédric Pineau (FRA)

Thibaut Pinot (FRA)

Jérémy Roy (FRA)

Arthur Vichot (FRA)

 

Europcar

Yukiya Arashiro (JPN)

Bryan Coquard (FRA)

Cyril Gautier (FRA)

Yohann Gène (FRA)

Alexandre Pichot (FRA)

Perrig Quémeneur (FRA)

Kevin Reza (FRA),

Pierre Rolland (FRA)

Thomas Voeckler (FRA)

 

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Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood

Andrew Hood cut his journalistic teeth at Colorado dailies before the web boom opened the door to European cycling in the mid-1990s. Hood has covered every Tour de France since 1996 and has been VeloNews' European correspondent since 2002.

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