There’s a race happening in France soon and in the final part of three, here’s a closer look at the last eight teams to name their rosters for the Tour de France.
UAE-Emirates are another squad with multiple ambitions. Kristoff comes for the sprints with Ferrari as his lead out. The Norwegian hasn’t been winning a lot of late and so he’s not got a luxurious train to ride. Martin has a route that suits him more than ever for a high GC thanks to a preponderance of sharp, steeper climbs and a TT course that’s got more of the same only he risks being undone in the team time trial (TTT). Sutherland will be his lieutenant and Giro stage winner Đurasek can support too on a team tilted towards the mountains. Atapuma returns to bring more options in the mountains, he’s almost won mountain stages in the Giro and Tour before. Management will be busy on the rest days recruiting new riders, the team wants more riders for GC and classics and will pay a premium.
ATAPUMA John Darwin, DURASEK Kristijan, FERRARI Roberto, KRISTOFF Alexander, MARCATO Marco, MARTIN Daniel, SUTHERLAND Rory, TROIA Oliviero
- Goal: the sponsors will expect a stage win in the mountains or sprints
- Ace: Martin and if he’s got his Dauphiné legs or better, a top-10 on GC and some polka dots
- Joker: Atapuma
Team Dimension Data should win a prize for the best roster announcement thanks to a fun video featuring school children in South Africa. They bring two sprint options in Mark Cavendish and Edvald Boasson Hagen and neither look to be in sizzling form but this is exactly when they pop up to surprise us and it’s happened many times in recent years. They have Renshaw, Vermote, Thomson and Janse Van Rensburg as support. Cavendish will find the opening stages to his liking with their set piece structures and if he’s been struggling because of injury and illness – one win last year, one this year – things seem to be turning around just in time. EBH can aim for wins later in the race from breakaways too, watch for him back in the Norway jersey. Pauwels and Slagter are stage hunters but not prolific, the team’s best bet for those breakaway days is to get one of them in a move with EBH too.
CAVENDISH Mark, BOASSON HAGEN Edvald, SLAGTER Tom-Jelte, RENSHAW Mark, JANSE VAN RENSBURG Reinardt, PAUWELS Serge, VERMOTE Julien, THOMSON Jay Robert
- Goal: a stage win
- Ace: Cavendish
- Joker: EBH for his versatility
Cofidis leave Nacer Bouhanni out, a background saga of the season. Given too much sway in the team – they recruited his father as an advisor, his brother as a rider – new manager Cédric Vasseur has put his foot down. Bouhanni is still a good rider – points winner in the 2014 Giro – and still 27 and the team will test him in the Vuelta. Instead a window opens for Laporte who sprints well but isn’t really a sprinter, he’s more versatile and has won bunch sprints out of raw power but not yet at World Tour level. Spanish duo Jesus Herrada and Dani Navarro will be active in the mountains outsiders for a stage win, you’ll remember Navarro getting pipped on the final stage of the Dauphiné. Anthony Turgis and Anthony Perez are strong riders, Turgis was on the podium in the recent French championships but converting this into a win is a tall order. Edet is a perennial attacker. Overall though the team looks better than ever but they start from a low base.
LAPORTE Christophe, CLAEYS Dimitri, EDET Nicolas, HERRADA Jesús, NAVARRO Daniel, PEREZ Anthony, SIMON Julien, TURGIS Anthony
- Goal: a stage win to end the drought since 2008
- Ace: it’s hard to pick between Laporte and Navarro, Laporte has a future ahead but maybe in the classics
- Joker: Herrada, he can win World Tour races on hilly days
Trek-Segafredo are in a transition year. Contador has retired freeing up a big budget but they lost out on the bidding for Fabio Aru last year which must bring delight with the benefit of hindsight. Bauke Mollema is their GC hope, he was a stage winner last year after his tilt at the Giro didn’t work out. He’s got some support in Grmay and Bernard for the mountains but they won’t be in the front group come the last climb and the TTT could be costly too. One early test to see if the team is all behind Mollema or allowed to do is whether Jasper Stuyven and John Degenkolb race for themselves on the pavé of Stage 9? De Kort is a veteran lead out to help “Dege” who just missed out on the German title last Sunday. Toms Skujiņš comes to terrorise keyboards and breakaways alike.
BERNARD Julien, DEGENKOLB John, DE KORT Koen, GOGL Michael, GRMAY Tsgabu, MOLLEMA Bauke, SKUJIŅŠ Toms, STUYVEN Jasper
- Goal: a high GC or a stage win for Mollema, which is more valuable to the team?
- Ace: Mollema, a likeable rider who visibly give it his all but as fragile as Delft pottery in the third week
- Joker: Degenkolb
Direct Energie won a stage last year with Lilian Calmejane and his card is going to be marked now. Given the manner of his win last year was like something out of a Rambo film it’s one thing to watch him, another to stay on his wheel in the finale of a hilly stage. But there are few opportunties for him, this year’s route has a lot more high mountains than the mid-mountains he loves. Chavanel starts his 18th consecutive Tour de France, a record and still an outsider for a breakaway but less victorious these days, his last win was over a year ago now. Gaudin will look forward to Stage 9 and the pavé and his workman’s shoulders provide a useful windbreak for Boudat, a budget version of Viviani for the way he can surge in the final metres with his track sprinting speed. Cousin won that stage in Paris-Nice and Taaramäe used to be a force of nature but has flown below the radar this year despite plenty of top-10s on hilly, hard days.
ALMEJANE Lilian, CHAVANEL Sylvain, TAARAMÄE Rein, COUSIN Jérôme, SICARD Romain, GAUDIN Damien, GRELLIER Fabien, BOUDAT Thomas
- Goal: a stage win will do nicely
- Ace: Calmejane but he’ll have to pick is moments
- Joker: Boudat for the sprints, unlikely to win but being visible counts
Fortuneo-Samsic are Warren Barguil. Still it’s a team sport and he’s got a squad in his service who will aim to keep him as fresh as possible. It’s the only all French team on the race and old school style, they team picked their eight after the French championships with former U23 world champion Kevin Ledanois making the cut (NB Groupama-FDJ leave Roux at home despite winning the French title). Veteran Amaël Moinard has been a certain pick, recruited from BMC and is a solid support rider for Barguil. The likes of Florian Vachon, Elie Gesbert and Romain Hardy are likely candidates for the breakaway on a sprint stage. Cannon fodder? Yes but you try riding for 150km in the wind on a Tour stage and recover in time to do it again and again, it’s thankless task. Barguil deliberately opted out of the GC last year so give him more room to attack by sitting up on the climb to the Planche des Belles Filles, this year he’ll opt out via the TTT, this squad will be minutes off the leaders. They’ve just swapped bike sponsor after Barguil got fed up with their Look frames, now on BH the good news is the team reported nobody had aches and pains after making the switch for last Sunday’s French championships.
BARGUIL Warren, BOUET Maxime, GESBERT Elie, HARDY Romain, LEDANOIS Kevin, MOINARD Amaël, PICHON Laurent,VACHON Florian
- Goal: a mountain stage win with Warren Barguil
- Ace: Barguil, off the pace all season but while others live on Teide he didn’t do a mountain training camp until after the Dauphiné
- Joker: sorry, it’s hard to see what other cards they can play
Team Sunweb have lost Wilco Kelderman to a crash, a plate fixing his collarbone in place got bent in the accident. The team managed to fight on two fronts last year with Barguil and Matthews taking stages galore and a jersey each. Matthews returns for more and will try to take on Sagan, remember he’s beaten the Slovak before. Andersen won a stage in Switzerland and is versatile, the old 1-2 option alongside Matthews while Nikias Arndt has won bunch sprints before and often in his seated sprint style which makes him ideal leadout material this July along with Teuns. They fight on a second front again, this time with Tom Dumoulin aiming for GC and they’ll be a closer look at his chances later this week. Ten Dam, Geschke and Haga are his support riders. They’re outsiders for the team time trial too and if they can place well they could get Matthews in yellow but ditto for several other squads.
ANDERSEN Søren Kragh, ARNDT Nikias, DUMOULIN Tom, TEN DAM Laurens, GESCHKE Simon
HAGA Chad, MATTHEWS Michael, THEUNS Edward
- Goal: a stage win and then see what follows
- Ace: Matthews because the Tour de France is his big goal
- Joker: Dumoulin because there’s no pressure after his Giro: GC or stages, it’s up to him
Team Sky were the last to name their roster even if it leaked to La Gazzetta last week (is there a mole inside the team?). Froome is the obvious leader. Thomas and Poels could captain other teams although as outsiders with question marks about delivering for three weeks and that’s perfect for Sky, they’re not outright rivals to Froome and if they have a bad day in the mountains they’ll quickly fold into domestique role without a drama. Bernal is the curiosity, why bring a novice? You can understand Groupama-FDJ select Gaudu because their squad isn’t so deep and it’s time he does a grand tour, but is the Colombian among Sky’s best riders already? Presumably they believe it but the team time trial will be a baptism of fire, he’s done a couple with Androni but nothing at this level. Kwiatkowski can blow hot and cold especially when the burden of leadership falls on him but otherwise has to be the most highly paid domestique in the peloton and valuable. Moscon, much like his near neighbour Francesco Moser, is another Swiss army knife of a rider, able on the pavé, strong for the TTT and can climb well. Castroviejo is new recruit straight into the Tour and versatile, engine for the TTT but able in the mountains. Rowe is the road captain, he broke his leg in the off season and so had a discreet classics campaign but will be the one calling the shots and fetching the bottles as well as helping to guide Froome during the opening week.
FROOME Christopher, MOSCON Gianni, THOMAS Geraint,KWIATKOWSKI Michał, POELS Wout
BERNAL Egan, CASTROVIEJO Jonathan, ROWE Luke
- Goal: a fifth win for Chris Froome
- Ace: Froome
- Joker: Thomas, he’s won the Dauphiné but can he ride high on GC for three weeks?