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Coppel aiming for top 15 finish at Tour de France

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Jerome Coppel is the team's stage race hopeful

Jerome Coppel is the team's stage race hopeful
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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Jimmy Engoulvent

Jimmy Engoulvent
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The back of the team jersey

The back of the team jersey
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jérémie Galland (Saur - Sojasun)

Jérémie Galland (Saur - Sojasun)
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jonathan Hivert and Fabrice Jeandesboz

Jonathan Hivert and Fabrice Jeandesboz
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jimmy Engoulvent and Jérémie Galland

Jimmy Engoulvent and Jérémie Galland
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jimmy Casper, Cyril Bessy and Arnaud Coyot

Jimmy Casper, Cyril Bessy and Arnaud Coyot
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Rony Martias, Romain Matheou and Stéphane Poulhiès

Rony Martias, Romain Matheou and Stéphane Poulhiès
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Cyril Bessy and Jonathan Hivert share a secret

Cyril Bessy and Jonathan Hivert share a secret
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Riders were all smiles at the Saur Sojasun presentation

Riders were all smiles at the Saur Sojasun presentation
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Romain Matheou, Jean-Lou Paiani and Paul Poux

Romain Matheou, Jean-Lou Paiani and Paul Poux
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jérôme Coppel

Jérôme Coppel
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jérôme Coppel is the focus for the Tour de France

Jérôme Coppel is the focus for the Tour de France
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Stéphane Poulhiès, Yannick Talabardon and Guillaume Levarlet

Stéphane Poulhiès, Yannick Talabardon and Guillaume Levarlet
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jeremie Galland, Cyril Lemoine, Sebastien Joly, Fabrice Jeandesboz and Arnaud Coyot

Jeremie Galland, Cyril Lemoine, Sebastien Joly, Fabrice Jeandesboz and Arnaud Coyot
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jimmy Casper, Cyril Bessy, Jonathan Hivert and Jeremie Galland

Jimmy Casper, Cyril Bessy, Jonathan Hivert and Jeremie Galland
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jimmy Casper

Jimmy Casper
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The 2011 Saur Sojasun team

The 2011 Saur Sojasun team
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Jérôme Coppel gives his goals for the 2011 season

Jérôme Coppel gives his goals for the 2011 season
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Philippe Raimbaud and Stephane Heulot

Philippe Raimbaud and Stephane Heulot
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The team managers and the team Time

The team managers and the team Time
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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The Saur Sojasun sport directors

The Saur Sojasun sport directors
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Riders line up for the photos

Riders line up for the photos
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Heulot has a little mic time

Heulot has a little mic time
(Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)
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Veteran Jimmy Casper

Veteran Jimmy Casper
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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Sprinter Jimmy Engoulvent

Sprinter Jimmy Engoulvent
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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The Saur-Sojasun team car

The Saur-Sojasun team car
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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The Saur-Sojasun team Time

The Saur-Sojasun team Time
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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The team's time trial bike for 2011

The team's time trial bike for 2011
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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Stephane Heulot, the team's manager

Stephane Heulot, the team's manager
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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Focus on the camera, guys

Focus on the camera, guys
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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Julien Simon

Julien Simon
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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The team has a few junior members

The team has a few junior members
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)
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Ludovic Turpin

Ludovic Turpin
(Image credit: Daniel Schamps/BettiniPhoto)

Jérôme Coppel (Saur-Sojasun) is targeting a top 15 place at July’s Tour de France. The young French hope impressed in finishing 5th at last year’s Critérium du Dauphiné and in 2011 he will have the opportunity to exhibit his talents on the sport’s biggest stage.

“It’s true that I’m progressing every year,” Coppel told L’Équipe. “Now I’m more of a climber-rouleur than a rouler-climber and I think that I can make the top 15 in my first full Tour.”

Coppel made his Tour debut as a 22-year-old with Française des Jeux in 2009 but abandoned the race during the 12th stage. After a first campaign with Saur-Sojasun in 2010, the fourth-year professional will lead the team in its first Tour outing.

“I feel capable of it, they have confidence in me on this team,” he said. “We don’t have big names but we’re closely-knit and that’s what I’m looking for. Furthermore, it’s only by riding the Tour as a leader that I’ll be able to see where I’m at.

“I’m giving myself another three years to progress well. At 27, 28 years of age, I’ll be capable of doing great things.”

Coppel gave one of the first signs of his potential at last year’s Paris-Nice, where he finished in 10th place. This time around, however, he will instead ride the Ruta del Sol and Tour of Murcia, as Saur-Sojasun were not invited to the race to the sun this time around. They lost out to the Bretagne-Schuller team.

“At first, it was a bit of a shock,” Coppel said of his team’s exclusion. “But in any case, it’s better to go to the Tour and not to Paris-Nice than the opposite.”

Meanwhile, Saur-Sojasun manager Stéphane Heulot echoed his star rider’s high aspirations for the Tour.

“It’s not a reward, we’re going there to shine,” Heulot explained. As well as Coppel, former Tour de France stage winner Jimmy Casper will also be hoping to make an impact, while Jimmy Engoulvent, Ludovic Turpin and Sébastien Joly will bring a wealth of experience to proceedings.

However, Heulot acknowledged that come July, all eyes will be on his young leader Coppel. “I still don’t know what his limits are,” he said.

For Cyclingnews’ gallery from the 2011 Saur-Sojasun team presentation, click here.