New French champion gets the nod
Despite having done the Tour de France twice already and being one of Thibaut Pinot's best friends, Arthur Vichot had to wait to become the French champion to make the FDJ team for the Tour.
"That's how it works in French teams, we get to know it at the last moment," the 24 year old from Besançon commented. "To wear the blue-white-red jersey during the 100th Tour de France that will be held completely in France is going to be exceptional."
In the absence of team manager Marc Madiot, who was in mourning after the death of his father Marcel, directeur sportif Franck Pineau announced the 9-man line up.
Former French champion Nacer Bouhanni will be escorted by lead out men William Bonnet and Murillo Fisher from Brazil. Jérémy Roy, Pierrick Fédrigo, Arnold Jeannesson and Alexandre Geniez have been designated to help Pinot while Vichot will be the promoter of the French colors in the breakaways.
A tradition at FDJ prevents sponsorship from appearing on the national champion jersey.
Experienced riders Sandy Casar, Matthieu Ladagnous and Anthony Geslin were sidelined by the four-leaved clover squad.
The other French ProTeam AG2R-La Mondiale chose a fully French line up with Jean-Christophe Péraud as a leader, assisted by Romain Bardet, Samuel Dumoulin, Maxime Bouet, Blel Kadri, Sébastien Minard, John Gadret, Hubert Dupont and Christophe Riblon. The latter was the last man chosen over Matteo Montaguti.
Sojasun also selected nine Frenchmen: Anthony Delaplace, Jonathan Hivert, Cyril Lemoine, Alexis Vuillermoz, Brice Feillu, Julien Simon, Julien El Farès, Jean-Marc Marino and Maxime Médérel.
Cofidis already announced eight riders before the national championship: Daniel Navarro, Rein Taraamäe, Christophe Le Mével, Jérôme Coppel, Yoann Bagot, Egoitz Garcia, Luis Angel Maté and Rudy Molard.
Europcar will wait for Monday to decide the last five after Pierre Rolland, Thomas Voeckler, Cyril Gautier and David Veilleux got the call earlier on. Newly crowned Japanese champion Yukiya Arashiro scored some interesting points this week-end.
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