By Jean-François Quénet
The 27th edition of the Chrono des Nations will end the 2008 French cycling season on Sunday. The individual time trial, held in Les Herbiers, Vendée (in western France), will also be the third running of this annual event under the name inherited from the famous GP des Nations, a race no longer organised by Amaruy Sport Organization (ASO).
Paris-Tours winner Philippe Gilbert will complete his duties with Française des Jeux and local hero Thomas Voeckler will take part again for the third consecutive year.
"I'm proud to keep the tradition of time trial at the end of season," said race promoter Christian Tessier.
Just one day after racing the Giro di Lombardia and one week before heading to the Japan Cup, Voeckler, a wearer of the yellow jersey during the 2004 Tour de France, will lead a Bouygues Telecom team of no less than six contenders. The squad's best chance of winning will come from Stef Clement, who finished third last year.
"As much as Gilbert might give a nice gift to Française des Jeux before leaving, Stef might do the same with us shall he win the Chrono des Nations," said Bouygues Telecom Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau.
Other riders scheduled to take part in the 29-man field contesting the Chrono des Nations include Dominique Cornu (Silence-Lotto), Andriy Grivko (Milram), Marco Pinotti (Columbia) and Thomas Voeckler (Bouygues Telecom).