French teams finalise Giro line-ups

Slovenian Tadej Valjavec will be the team captain for AG2R La Mondiale during the 2008 Giro d'Italia. The new recruit to the French ProTour team finished ninth in the Italian Grand Tour in 2004, and will therefore again aim for a good placing on General Classification in the race that starts May 10 in Palermo, Sicily.

But AG2R does not only count on Valjavec to deliver. Belarussian sprinter Alexandre Usov is also hoped to shine in the fast finishes. Italian Rinaldo Nocentini, strong in the early season, is another asset to the team, while Sylvain Calzati, short of racing kilometres, was not included in the roster contrary to previous plans.

The full line-up of AG2R La Mondiale is: Philip Deignan, Yuriy Krivtsov, Rene Mandri, Laurent Mangel, Rinaldo Nocentini, Nicolas Rousseau, Blaise Sonnery, Alexandre Usov and Tadej Valjavec.

Another French team, Cofidis, also announced its rider selection for the upcoming Giro. Belgians Nick Nuyens and Rik Verbrugghe will be the leaders of the squad. Nuyens finished second in Het Volk as well as in the Ronde van Vlaanderen this season. Verbrugghe, already scored three stages in the Corsa Rosa: the prologue in 2001, as well as two stages in 2002 and 2006.

The full Cofidis line-up is: Mickaël Buffaz, Kevin De Weert, Bingen Fernández, Nicolas Hartmann, Mathieu Heijboer, Yann Huguet, Damien Monier, Nick Nuyens and Rik Verbrugghe.

Finally, Française des Jeux plans to test its young riders on the Giro, with four riders included in the roster who have never participated in a Grand Tour: Frenchmen Mickaël Chérel and Guillaume Levarlet, as well as Belarussian Yauheni Hutarovich and Belgian Tom Stubbe.

The full roster of Française des Jeux is: Mickaël Chérel, Timothy Gudsell, Yauheni Hutarovich, Lilian Jégou, Yoann Le Boulanger, Guillaume Levarlet, Jérémy Roy, Tom Stubbe and Jussi Veikkanen.

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