The French national team will not miss its leader, Sylvain Chavanel, at the London Olympics. Chavanel has been confirmed to line up in both the road race on Saturday and the time trial on August 1. Having had to abandon the Tour de France with one week to go due to bronchitis, the 33-year-old was happy to announce that he had recovered from his illness and was back in the game in time for the Olympics.
"I was very scared for two or three days after having dropped out of the race," the Frenchman told L'Equipe. "It seemed like personal failure to me."
But the French national time trial champion has been able to train normally again since last Friday, and should be back in the same good shape that saw him take to the forefront of some of the early Tour stages a fortnight ago.
"I never thought of replacing him," commented national team selector Laurent Jalabert on the matter, despite Thomas Voeckler's spectacular two stage victories in the second half of the Tour. "I always trust the riders, and as Sylvain assured me that he is competitive again, I believe in him. I'm certain that he will height of the event."
Chavanel will lead the French selection in the road race on Saturday, but the three-man team of sprinter Arnaud Démare, Tony Gallopin and himself cannot be considered a serious threat to some of the better-represented outfits. The Frenchman's main goal is an Olympic medal at the event's time trial next week. At the Tour de France's first time trial in Besançon, the Omega Pharma-QuickStep rider finished fifth behind the later overall winner Bradley Wiggins (Sky).
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