French only qualify six riders for Worlds road race
French cycling team manager Laurent Jalabert says he is looking forward to a period of re-evaluation for French cycling after the team failed to qualify nine riders for next month's world championships. Jalabert will only be able to choose six riders for the mens road race on September 27.
"It's very disturbing," Jalabert told French sports daily L'Equipe. "This does not mean that we are already beaten, but it says a lot about the true position of France in international cycling. I hope this will at least provoke some thought."
Like fellow European nation The Netherlands, French riders have failed to accumulate enough International Cycling Union (UCI) points this season to gain a place inside the top ten nations, who will each be eligible to select nine riders for the Worlds road race.
At last month's Tour de France Thomas Voeckler, Pierrick Fédrigo and Brice Feillu all claimed stage wins, but despite strong individual performances by French riders at their national Tour, the French nation sits 12th on the UCI's world rankings.
L'Equipe reported that Jalabert expects to rely upon riders like Fédrigo and Quick Step's Sylvain Chavanel as he adapts the team's tactics to suit the smaller, six-man squad.
"We'll just try to follow as long as possible," said Jalabert. "On a one-day course like this there are guys [in the team] able to get a result."
Fédrigo and Chavanel were amongst 18 riders named in an eighteen man pre-selection announced on July 30.