AG2R La Mondiale come into the 2015 Tour de France with last year’s runner-up in Jean-Christophe Péraud and up-and-coming leader Romain Bardet, who finished sixth last year during his second attempt at the race.
Bardet has shined in his lead up to the Tour, earning multiple podium finishes and winning the Critérium du Dauphiné’s fifith stage, which shared the same route as stage 17 of this year's Tour. Péraud, on the other hand, has struggled recently, quiting the French time trial championship with a third of the course remaining. Péraud admitted during his team’s pre-race press conference that he considered not starting this year's Tour, but he has recovered well and is now motivated for the race.
“I have also partially regained confidence,” he said during a press conference at the team headquarters. “I look at the Tour with motivation. I'd like to make the top five again but I'd be just as happy with a top 10. However, like everyone, I'll have to avoid the pitfalls of the first week before I pursue further goals.”
Bardet, meanwhile, said he plans on putting the lessons learned during last year’s race to good use this year.
“Last year I've learned what it requires to captain a team, especially out of the actual racing,” he said. “I'll focus more on the race this time.”
AG2R-La Mondiale Team Manager Vincent Lavenu admitted that the team’s results last year – with a rider on the final podium, another in the top 10 and a stage win for Blel Kadri along the way – set the bar pretty high for the team this year.
“We won't raise the bar of our goals higher,” he said. “We'd be happy with one rider in the top five and another one in the top 10 again.”
Ag2r La Mondiale: Romain Bardet (Fra), Mikael Cherel (Fra), Ben Gastauer (Ned), Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra), Johan Vansummeren (Bel), Damien Gaudin (Fra), Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra), Jan Bakelants (Bel) and Christophe Riblon (Fra)
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