Coquard left out of Direct Energie's Tour de France team

Voeckler to lead nine-man French squad

Bryan Coquard has missed out on a spot in Direct Energie's Tour de France squad after he said that he would leave the team at the end of the season. Former yellow jersey wearer, Thomas Voeckler is set to head-up the team as he rides his final Grand Boucle, while Sylvain Chavanel – another wearer of the yellow jersey – has earned a birth in the squad.

Coquard had voiced his concerns about being left off the nine-man squad back in May. The 25-year-old admitted that there were tension between himself and team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau following his announcement that he would be looking for a new team for next season. Bernaudeau implied that the only way Coquard would make the squad would be if he won a Criterium du Dauphiné stage win – the closest he got was fifth on stage 2. Coquard is DIrect Energie's second most successful rider this season with five wins, one behind Lilian Calmejane

Coquard dismissed Bernaudeau's comments, and said: "I think I'm going very well. Now Jean-René will decide whatever he decides. I hope I won't be spending July eating Merguez."

In the absence of Coquard, Direct Energie will search for stage victories at the Tour de France with Voeckler at the helm and in the spotlight. The 38-year-old has been with the team since he turned professional in 2000 and his presence largely saved the team on a number of occasions as they searched for sponsors. Voeckler has won four stages of the Tour de France, took the mountains classification in 2012 and spent two long spells in the yellow jersey in 2004 and 2011, when he finished fourth overall.

Voeckler has been a crowd favourite at the race, as has Chavanel. The latter has three stage wins to his name and enjoyed two days in the yellow jersey at the 2010 Tour de France. Between them, Voeckler and Chavanel will shoulder the bulk of the team's ambitions.

Rising star Calmejane will make his debut at the Tour this July. He has enjoyed a bumper 2017 season with victories at Coppi e Bartali, Etoile de Besseges and Circuit de la Sarthe, as well as the mountains classification at Paris-Nice. Former Tour de l'Avenir winner and U23 world champion Romain Sicard makes the nine-man line-up along with Adrien Petit, Perrig Quéméneur, Angelo Tulik, Thomas Boudat and Yohann Gene.

The Tour de France begins in Dusseldorf on July 1.

Direct Energie for Tour de France: Thomas Voeckler, Sylvain Chavanel, Lilian Calmejane, Adrien Petit, Romain Sicard, Perrig Quéméneur, Angelo Tulik, Thomas Boudat and Yohann Gene.

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