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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Team at heart of renaissance of French cycling ready to push its limits at Tour de France

High mountains bring high hopes for AG2R LA MONDIALE. At this year’s Tour de France, the team is aiming to place one rider in the top 5 overall, and two in the top 10, according to Team Manager Vincent Lavenu. Based in France, AG2R LA MONDIALE also is targeting the team classification, which it won last year. Frenchmen Jean-Christophe Péraud and Romain Bardet, second and sixth respectively last year, are among the top contenders in 2015.

“And of course we’d like to win a stage,” Vincent Lavenu said. “The last couple of weeks have proved our worth as a team and confirmed the value of the work we’ve done, particularly during our training camp at altitude at the Col du Lautaret (Hautes-Alpes). But we are all aware that the Tour is a unique test that is difficult and unforgiving, and one that must be undertaken with a generous amount of humility.”

AG2R LA MONDIALE pre-riding Stage 4's cobblestones. This and top photo ©BrakeThrough Media

Indeed. From its start Saturday in the Netherlands to its finish July 26 in Paris, the Tour covers 3,360 kilometers (2,088 miles) over 21 stages. That includes Paris-Roubaix cobblestones on Stage 4, seven mountain stages with five altitude finishes, an individual time trial, and a team time trial.

AG2R LA MONDIALE, which has a multiyear agreement with SRAM, rides SRAM components, Zipp wheels and Quarq power measurement.

Tour Team Roster

Photo ©Tim De Waele TDWSport.com

Romain Bardet (France)
Age: 24
All-around contender who placed sixth overall in 2014 Tour de France. He’s on good form having recently won the mountainous Stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Jean-Christophe Péraud (France)
Age:
38
Another favorite for a high GC finish. Second at last year’s Tour, he won Stage 3 and the general classification at this year’s Critérium International.

Jan Bakelants (Belgium)
Age:
29
An attacker. In 2013, he won a stage in the Tour de France and wore the race leader’s yellow jersey.

Mikaël Cherel (France)
Age: 29
An important team player, especially for the mountains. This is his third Tour.

Ben Gastauer (Luxembourg)
Age: 27
A strong time trialist, he’ll be a valuable asset for the team time trial. He confirmed his overall ability by finishing 21st at last year’s Tour.

Damien Gaudin (France)
Age:
28
A powerful rider with a track background. Watch for him to expend major wattage helping out the GC guys.

Christophe Riblon (France)
Age:
34
A veteran presence. He won the legendary Alpe d'Huez stage in the 2013 Tour de France.

 Johan Vansummeren (Belgium)
Age:
34
An experienced rider who’ll work for the team over any terrain. Want a measure of his toughness? He won Paris-Roubaix in 2011.

Alexis Vuillermoz (France)
Age: 27
A climber making his second Tour start. Won Grand Prix de Plumelec-Morbihan 2015.

Sources: AG2R LA MONDIALETour de France

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