On Friday, January 5, the French Pro Continental team Agritubel held its official presentation at the Futuroscope, a scientific adventure park in Poitiers. Despite not being in the ProTour, the sqaud has high chances of getting a wildcard invitation for the next Tour de France, especially with the two leaders team manager David Fornès has signed for the upcomign season: Nicolas Jalabert, brother of Laurent, who came from Phonak, and Nicolas Vogondy, new to the outfit from Crédit Agricole. Furthermore, the team achieved a stage win at the "Grande Boucle" last year with Spaniard Juan Miguel Mercado.
Further goals for Agritubel, sponsored by a machinery manufacturer for the dairy industry, will be the French Cup series, the French national championships and another invitation to a Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana. To that effect, the squad lines up six Spanish riders, including the talented Moise Duenas, who won a stage in the Tour de l'Avenir last year. But Agritubel not only has climbers like Mercado or Duenas on its roster; also sprinters like Hans Dekkers and Mikel Gaztanga make the team a balanced one.
Looking to the future optimistically, the squad partly owned by Bernard Hinault - five times Tour de France winner and now an accomplished farmer in his Bretagne home - also builds on young talent, like the French Benoît Sinner, 2006 European U23 champion, and Romain Feillu, who got second in the 2006 U23 Road World's in Salzburg.
The full Agritubel roster for 2007 reads as follows:
Linas Balciunas (Ltu), Aivaras Baranauskas (Ltu), Emilien-Benoit Berges (Fra), Freddy Bichot (Fra), Manuel Calvente (Spa), Cédric Coutouly (Fra), Hans Dekkers (Nel), Moïse Duenas (Spa), Romain Feillu (Fra), Mikel Gaztanga (Spa), Eduardo Gonzalo (Spa), Cédric Herve (Fra), Nicolas Jalabert (Fra), José-Alberto Martinez (Spa), Juan-Manuel Mercado (Spa), Samuel Plouhinec (Fra), Freddy Ravaleu (Fra), Anthony Ravard (Fra), Denis Robin (Fra), Benoît Salmon (Fra), Benoît Sinner (Fra) and Nicolas Vogondy (Fra).
Directeurs sportifs: Emmanuel Hubert, Denis Leproux and Frédéric Mainguenaud.
Team manager: David Fornès.
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