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France announce men's Olympic road team

France's four-rider team for the Rio Olympic road race has been confirmed by the national cycling body, Fédération Française de Cyclisme, and national technical director Vincent Jacquet naming a quartet of climbers.

Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-QuickStep), Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Warren Barguil (Giant-Alpecin), and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), have all been named for the road race with Pinot to ride the time trial on August 10.

Alexis Vuillermoz, the winner of last year's Aquece Rio test event, is one of three reserves for the 256.4km Fort Copacabana to Fort Copacabana road race on August 6 alongside Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal) and Pierre Rolland (Canondale-Drapac).

All four riders named in the team are currently racing the Tour de France with Bardet the best placed of the quartet in sixth place, 56 seconds in arrears to Chris Froome (Team Sky).

"This is a fantastic event which transcends the world of sport," said Bardet of his selection. "The France team will be very competitive. We introduce ourselves as the first outsiders, aiming to bring back a medal."

Bardet was third at the Aquece Rio test event in 2015 and has been enjoying one of his most consistent seasons yet, finishing top-ten in all but one stage race so far in 2016. 

For the time trial, Pinot was preferred over last year's silver medalist at the World Championships, Jerome Coppel (IAM Cycling), with the 26-year-old improving in the discipline with wins against the clock at Critérium International and Tour de Romandie, and the French title in June.

Alaphilippe and Barguil are the younger riders in the team at 24, with the duo both enjoying successive seasons in 2016. Alaphilippe was again second at La Flèche Wallonne in the Spring before winning the Tour of California and finishing sixth, and claiming the best young rider classification, at the Criterium du Dauphiné.

Barguil, who was one of six Giant-Alpecin riders involved in a January training ride accident, has been getting better race-by-race with six at Liège-Bastogne-Liège and third overall at Tour de Suisse his season highlights.

Sylvain Chavanel was the best French finisher at the 2012 Olympic Games Road Race, crossing the line in 20th place.

France hasn't won a medal in the men's road race since Arnaud Geyre claimed silver at the 1956 Games in Melbourne. Robert Charpentier (1936) and José Beyaert (1948) remain the only French cyclists to have won gold in the road race. 

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