IAM Cycling head to the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe with a squad full of options for challenging both stage wins and the overall with Jérôme Coppel and Mathias Frank spearheading their GC aspirations. Sondre Holst Enger and Matteo Pelucchi provide the team with options for the sprints while former UCI World Hour Record holder Matthias Brändle is likely to challenge for the stage 3b time trial victory.
"We are primarily going there to win some stages," directeur sportif Lionel Marie said. "This race offers opportunities for riders of all types, and we are bringing a varied group to accommodate the course. We have riders for the sprints, as well as guys who can climb, in view of the second to last stage.
"For the individual time trial, we will come with Coppel and Brändle, who are specialists looking for a good result. We will focus on the stages so that each of our riders can make an impression."
Coppel, the French national champion against the clock, won the final time trial of the Etoile de Bessèges to claim overall victory in February and was recently a narrow second to Thibaut Pinot at the Critérium International TT.
"Gaining the race rhythm in Corsica was very important for me after I had to drop out of Paris-Nice because of a flu. I have felt good this week and now am looking forward to this race," said Coppel who was third at the Ruta del Sol time trial and tenth in the Paris-Nice prologue.
"My main goal will be the time trial, and then depending on how that goes, and how my legs feel, perhaps then I can also start to think about a place in the general classification. Of course, we are also coming with Mathias Frank, who could definitely play a role in the overall standings. I am very confident, and we will just have to see how it goes."
Pelucchi's first win in IAM Cycling colours came at the 2.1 race back in 2013 and having finished inside the top-ten on two stages at the Coppi e Bartali will look to build on his performances and claim his first win of the 2016 season. Enger, 22, will be called upon to help the Italian to stage wins with Vicente Reynes captaining the squad for the April 5-8 race."
With only six riders per team, it is not easy to control the race. Mathias Frank will certainly have a role to play as a main protagonist. For him it should be a good test to see how far his shape has developed since the Tour of Catalonia," added Marie.
Stage 1 takes place in Château-du-Loir on Tuesday with with a split stage from Saint-Mars-la-Jaille - Angers in the morning and an afternoon time trial in Angers. Stage 3 then takes the peloton from Angers to Pré-en-Pail before concluding with a 176km stage from Abbaye de l'Épau to Arnage.
IAM Cycling for Cycliste the Circuit Sarthe: Matthias Brändle, Jérôme Coppel, Mathias Frank, Sondre Holst Enger, Matteo Pelucchi and Vicente Reynes.
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