Jalabert names Fédrigo as France's leader for Worlds

Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) celebrates his second career Tour stage win.

Pierrick Fedrigo (Bbox Bouygues Telecom) celebrates his second career Tour stage win. (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Pierrick Fédrigo will lead the French national team at the World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, said team director Laurent Jalabert.

"It is important to develop confidence [in a leader] long enough before the big day," Jalabert told L'Equipe.

He named the six riders yesterday on television who will form the national team. Fédrigo, Sylvain Chavanel, Thomas Voeckler, Christophe Le Mevel, Dimitri Champion and Christophe Riblon will race the Worlds road race, September 27.

"I fully back my selection, although there are plenty of other guys that I would have liked to select," said Jalabert.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirmed two weeks ago the number of riders allowed for each nation. Ten nations may have the maximum number of nine riders, but some historically powerful nations can only bring six. The UCI decided the numbers based on team rankings as of August 15.

France and The Netherlands will have six-man teams, but countries like Great Britain, Norway and Luxembourg can bring nine. Jalabert will likely allow Italy and Spain (both nine-man teams) to control the first part of the race.

"We still have time to think about it, but it will certainly be a race of waiting."

This year's course in Mendrisio, Switzerland, will be harder than last year's 17.35-kilometre circuit in Varese, Italy. The circuit has two climbs, Acqua Fresca and Novazzano, in a short 13.8-kilometre circuit repeated 19 times.

It is the first time for former-cyclist Jalabert to lead the French team. He won the 1997 World Championship time trial in San Sebastián and many one-day races before retiring in 2002.

The last time France won the World Championships road race was also in 1997, with Laurent Brochard.

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