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Cosnefroy arrives in Australia for Worlds after secret flight from France

QUEBEC CITY QUEBEC SEPTEMBER 09 Benoit Cosnefroy of France and Ag2R Citroen Team celebrates winning during the 11th Grand Prix Cycliste de Qubec 2022 a 2016km one day race from Quebec to Quebec GPCQM on September 09 2022 in Quebec City Quebec Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images
Benoît Cosnefroy has arrived in Australia (Image credit: Getty Images)

Benoît Cosnefroy has arrived in Australia and is set to form part of the French team for the elite men’s road race at the UCI World Championships

The AG2R Citroën rider had initially ruled himself out of selection for this year’s Worlds but was talked around to the idea following his victory at the Grand Prix de Québec last week. He secretly took a flight from France to Australia and arrived on Tuesday.

In the immediate aftermath of that triumph, Cosnefroy remained adamant that he would not make the journey to Wollongong, outlining the rationale he had offered national coach Thomas Voeckler. 

“I haven’t won any races until today and so I haven’t proved myself,” Cosnefroy said in Canada. “I also want to win with AG2R in the final races of the season and going to Australia means a long trip and a lot of jet lag.”

When Voeckler announced his selection for the Worlds four days later, Cosnefroy did not feature in the list of nine riders making the journey to Australia, though L’Équipe reported on Tuesday (opens in new tab) that he had been included on a provisional long list of twelve riders that was quietly submitted to the UCI.

Reports circulated on Monday that Cosnefroy was travelling to Australia to link up with the French team, though neither AG2R Citroën nor Voeckler would confirm as much. On Tuesday, L’Équipe reported that Cosnefroy had indeed joined the French squad at its base at the Wollongong Surf Leisure Resort. Photographs emerged of him arriving at the French team hotel and with outgoing world champion Julian Alaphilippe.

Cosnefroy’s arrival in Australia now leaves Voeckler with a decision to make ahead of Sunday’s road race. 

France have qualified nine riders for the race due to Julian Alaphilippe’s victory at last year’s Worlds in Leuven, and Cosnefroy’s presence will thus force one of the original nine riders out of the line-up.

It was initially expected that one of the riders doubling up in the time trial – Bruno Armirail and Rémi Cavagna – would make way for Cosnefroy, though L’Équipe suggested on Tuesday that this would not necessarily be the case.

Voeckler is expected to confirm his nine-man line-up at the French squad’s pre-race press conference on Wednesday. The deadline for final team selections is 12.30 on Thursday.

As well as Cosnefroy and the reigning champion Alaphilippe, who races in Australia despite dislocating his shoulder on the Vuelta a España, the French team in Wollongong will include Christophe Laporte, Valentin Madouas and Romain Bardet.

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Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation (opens in new tab), published by Gill Books.