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With Australian Stuart O'Grady and perennial French favourites Jimmy Casper and Cedric Vasseur...
With Australian Stuart O'Grady and perennial French favourites Jimmy Casper and Cedric Vasseur (pictured) featuring on the roster for 2005, the Cofidis squad was presented in Paris on Thursday, looking to firmly plant itself as one of the movers of the ProTour.
A talented line-up including new recruit Sylvain Chavanel (former Brioches la Boulangere rider) and neo pro Nicholas Roche (son of 1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche) is looking to perform well in the Classics and Grand Tours. Stuart O'Grady, one of the team's 'captains', hopes to perform well in Milan-San Remo, a race he's dreamt of winning. With the help of Australian teammate Matt White, this dream may well be fulfilled. The two recently rode the Jacob's Creek Tour Down Under, with White taking an emotional stage four victory. Australian media outlets have been quick to note the potential for these two to work closely in France during July.
The rocky roads of 2004 seem to be behind Cofidis, and as media speculation surrounding their well-publicised doping scandal has decreased, focus has switched to the potential of the team to excel in 2005. Team Management were relieved to gain the signature of former Baker Boy Chavanel, who, at 25, is looking to establish himself as a major rider within the peloton. Big things are expected of Chavanel within France, and after his stage victory in last year's Tour, David Moncoutie is another name mentioned for further successes.
Another addition to the roster, former Saeco rider Leonardo Bertagnolli, is a rider looking to cement his place in the well-rounded squad, along with the nine new faces in the Cofidis line-up. And with an average age of 28, there's a real mix of youth and experience within the squad, something many teams are trying to achieve with the ProTour format forcing a tighter race schedule on an overall basis. Team management seem to be excited by their prospects in the ProTour, and in 2005 it looks like they'll step up to the challenge.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Daniel Schamps
Images by AFP Photo