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French squads name Tour de France teams

Wesley Sulzberger (FDJ) won the race

Wesley Sulzberger (FDJ) won the race (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Australia's Wesley Sulzberger will make his debut in the Tour de France alongside Anthony Roux, another newcomer on the Française des Jeux line-up for the Tour de France, which starts in Rotterdam on July 3rd next week.

Team manager selected Christophe Le Mével and Sandy Casar as GC riders – they finished 10th and 11th last year – with the support of Jérémy Roy, Benoît Vaugrenard, Rémy Di Gregorio, Matthieu Ladagnous and Anthony Geslin who was the last man to make the team. He was in competition with sprinters Yauheni Hutarovitch and Sébastien Chavanel. Therefore, Sulzberger will be the only non-French rider on the team.

"I'm very excited to ride the Tour for the first time, this was my main goal this year," said the Tasmanian who will be the only beginner among the record-setting eleven Australians on the start line in Rotterdam. Previously the largest contingent from down under was ten in 2005.

Cofidis selected Giro d'Italia stage 17 winner Damien Monier as their ninth man with Rémi Pauriol, Samuel Dumoulin, Stéphane Augé, Julien El Farès, Christophe Kern, Sébastien Minard, Amaël Moinard and Rein Taarämae. The Estonian will also be the only foreigner and his debut in the Tour is also highly expected.

AG2R-La Mondiale has selected five riders after the French championship: Nicolas Roche, Christophe Riblon, John Gadret, David Le Lay and Rinaldo Nocentini. The Italian who had the yellow jersey for five days last year came 8th in his national championship on Saturday. He's back on time for the Tour after a bad early season injury.

Team manager Vincent Lavenu warned that a big surprise could be expected in the final four names. Former yellow jersey and stage winner Cyril Dessel will miss out indeed. Martin Elmiger has made the cut after becoming Swiss champion today. The remaining spots have been allocated to Maxime Bouet, Dimitri Champion and Lloyd Mondory.

Bbox Bouygues Telecom will announce their line up on Monday. Newly crowned French champions Thomas Voeckler and Nicolas Vogondy (time trial) will lead the team with Pierrick Fedrigo and Pierre Rolland. Cyril Gautier and Steve Chainel will start the Tour for the first time. Yukiya Arashiro who came 13th in the Japanese championship won by Takashi Miyazawa will make the cut for the second time. Anthony Charteau and Mathieu Sprick have good chances to be in as well.

Five Frenchmen will be lined up in foreign teams: Christophe Moreau and Mathieu Perget (Caisse d'Epargne), Jérôme Pineau and Sylvain Chavanel (Quick Step) and Mickaël Delage (Omega Pharma-Lotto). That will make a total of 35 riders from the hosting nation at the Tour. They were 41 last year. Race organisers ASO always say 30 to 40 French riders are necessary for the national folklore and 35 is the ideal number out of 198 participants.