Voeckler targets Ardennes Classics, Rolland eyes top five at the Tour
Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland will again lead Team Europcar in 2013, targeting success in the Ardennes Classics before focusing yet again on the Tour de France.The French team is not part of the UCI WorldTour teams but is rightly confident of riding a good programme of races.
Voeckler is about to start his thirteenth season as a professional but looked young and keen at the team presentation in the team's home region of the Vendee, with close cut hair helping to hide a few extra kilos.
Voeckler won the polka-dot mountain's competition jersey at the Tour de France and two mountain stages despite struggling with a knee injury early in the race, while Rolland also won a tough stage and finished eighth overall.
The French cycling fans loved their shows of panache and for now at least, team manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau has managed to control any internal rivalry. However Rolland and not Voeckler, is set to target the overall classification at the Tour de France despite his poor time trialling skills.
Other names to watch in the Team Europcar roster include cobbled classic contender Sébastien Turgot, who was second at Paris-Roubaix, Canada's David Veilleux, who won Tre Valli Varesine Italian Classic and the Mi-Août en Bretagne stage race last summer.
Talented neo-pro Bryan Coquard was second in the Under 23 road race world championships and won the silver medal in the Omnium event at the London Olympics. He will debut at the Tour de Bessèges and then ride the Tour de Langkawi, so is likely to land an early first professional career win.
The team will again ride Colnago bikes this season, and with the standout green jersey, little has changed on the this year.
Car-hire company Europcar saved the team at the last minute in 2011 but this is the third and final year of sponsorship. No doubt Bernaudeau will have his riders fired up and on edge as he looks to convince Europcar or a new sponsor to back the team in the future.