As the only French team in the WorldTour, the eyes of the nation will be on FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope when the Tour de France Femmes gets underway this Sunday. Whilst they may not be going into the race with a French leader, their French domestique Marie Le Net is confident in the team's chances at their home race.
"I'm confident, I have confidence in my teammates," Le Net said. "We have a really good group and we feel really good, so I think we can be confident for the general classification. It's Cecilie who is our designated leader, but we also have Marta who is there as a sub-leader. So we have two cards to play, which other teams don't necessarily have, so that's a big advantage for us."
"With the team that we have, the yellow jersey is possible. It won't be easy, but if we work well together, it's feasible."
Backing up Uttrup Ludwig and Cavalli is a team that is fully committed to the general classification, leaving behind sprinter Clara Copponi in favour of strong climbers Grace Brown and Évita Muzic, and all-rounders Le Net and Vittoria Guazzini.
Though there are eight chances for stage wins and the possibility of breakaway successes, Le Net says FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope's game plan will revolve around the yellow jersey and the final climbing stages.
"It's possible that they ask me to look to go in breakaways, and then if the peloton doesn't chase the break then it's possible I will have an opportunity," she said. "But I'm not there for my own opportunities, I'm there to focus on the best GC result."
"It's in the hills where you can make gaps. It will definitely be the best climbers who get away here, and it's in our interests too because we have Cecilie and Marta who are some of the best climbers, so this will be our objective."
Whilst Le Net may not be there with thoughts of a victory for herself, there is hope among the French riders that someone may pull off a win at their home Grand Tour.
"I think yes, it's possible, but it would be better if it's a French rider from FDJ, of course," Le Net said of the chances of a French stage win. "But whether it's Juliette [Labous] or Audrey [Cordon-Ragot], they have had a great start to the season, and they would really deserve to win a stage - even if I would prefer for it to be Évita or me."
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Matilda Price is a freelance cycling journalist and digital producer based in the UK. She is a graduate of modern languages, and recently completed an MA in sports journalism, during which she wrote her dissertation on the lives of young cyclists. Matilda began covering cycling in 2016 whilst still at university, working mainly in the British domestic scene at first. Since then, she has covered everything from the Tour Series to the Tour de France. These days, Matilda focuses most of her attention on the women’s sport, writing for Cyclingnews and working on women’s cycling show The Bunnyhop. As well as the Women’s WorldTour, Matilda loves following cyclo-cross and is a recent convert to downhill mountain biking.