French national coach Bernard Bourreau has finalised his nine-man team for the world championships road race in Ponferrada, with Nacer Bouhanni leading the line in a squad that also includes Warren Barguil, Romain Bardet and Tony Gallopin.
Bouhanni underlined his credentials for the Worlds at the Vuelta a España, where he won two sprint stages and performed impressively on two uphill finishes – at Arcos de la Frontera on stage 3 and at Obregon at the end of week two.
The fast man will be unable to race again between now and the Worlds road race on September 28, however – FDJ.fr manager Marc Madiot pulled Bouhanni from racing after he lamented his omission from the Tour de France squad in a recent interview with L’Équipe.
Bouhanni is joined in the French squad by his regular lead-out man, Geoffrey Soupe, who will join him in making the switch to Cofidis next season.
Tony Gallopin impressed in landing a stage victory and a spell in the yellow jersey at the Tour de France, and the Lotto-Belisol man confirmed his form with a fine showing in Canada over the weekend, taking ninth at the Grand de Quebec and 3rd at the GP de Montreal.
Alongside Romain Bardet, who finished fifth in Montreal, Gallopin will have the freedom to go on the offensive, and the pair provide France with a brace of alternatives to Bouhanni should the course prove more selective than anticipated.
Bardet’s Ag2r-La Mondiale teammate and Tour de France podium finisher Jean-Christophe Péraud also features in the squad, as does Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano), fresh from his fine 8th place finish at the Vuelta.
Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) returns to the line-up after skipping the road race in Florence 12 months ago, while Europcar’s Cyril Gautier and Kevin Reza will also line in Ponferrada.
Chavanel will also compete in the individual time trial, alongside Jérôme Coppel (Cofidis).
French team for elite men’s road race: Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Warren Barguil (Giant-Shimano), Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Belisol), Cyril Gautier (Europcar), Jean-Christophe Peraud (AG2R-La Mondiale), Kevin Reza (Europcar), Geoffrey Soupe (FDJ.fr)
Elite men’s time trial: Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Jérôme Coppel (Cofidis).