Cyrille Guimard has now named seven of the eight riders who will represent France in the elite men’s road race at the World Championships, with Thibaut Pinot, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ) and Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac) added to the list of pre-selected riders on Friday.
Pinot, Molard and Rolland – all currently in action at the Vuelta a España – join the already confirmed Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors), AG2R La Mondiale duo Romain Bardet and Tony Gallopin, and French champion Anthony Roux (Groupama-FDJ) in the French squad.
In a statement on Friday, Guimard explained that four riders remain in contention for the final slot on the French team, with a decision to be taken after the Italian semi-classics in the coming week.
"I still have to select the eighth rider," Guimard said. "As of now, the contenders for this final place on the French team for the Worlds in Austria are, with no order of preference: Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic), Guillaume Martin (Wanty Groupe Gobert), and Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale) who was the victim of a crash at the Tour de France but who rode well in the WorldTour races in Canada, as well as his teammate Alexandre Géniez, winner of a stage on the Vuelta a España."
Guimard confirmed, meanwhile, that Kenny Elissonde (Team Sky), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) and Anthony Perez (Cofidis) are no longer under consideration for Worlds selection.
"They were all of course disappointed not be part of this Innbsruck adventure, but they understood my decision-making for this year’s most particular Worlds," Guimard said.
The Innsbruck course features some 4,000 metres of total climbing, and the French squad will travel to Austria with several options. Pinot won atop Lagos de Covadonga at the Vuelta and has performed strongly at Il Lombardia in recent years, while Bardet placed third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège this spring.
Alaphilippe is likely to lead the squad, and he has been the strongest performer in French national colours in recent years, placing 4th at the Rio 2016 Olympics and second in that year’s European Championships. The Quick-Step rider dropped everyone on the final ascent of Salmon Hill at last year’s Worlds in Bergen but was caught in the closing kilometres and placed 10th behind Peter Sagan.
Alaphilippe has enjoyed a fine 2018 season, winning Flèche Wallonne, the Clasica San Sebastian and two stages of the Tour de France. He has continued that run of form in recent weeks by winning the Tour of Britain earlier this month and he is currently leading the Tour of Slovakia after winning the opening road stage.
The elite men’s road race at the World Championships takes place on September 30.
French elite men’s team for UCI World Championships:
Confirmed: Tony Gallopin, Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale), Anthony Roux, Thibaut Pinot, Rudy Molard (Groupama-FDJ), Julian Alaphilippe (QuickStep Floors), Pierre Rolland (EF Education First-Drapac).
In contention for final place: Warren Barguil (Fortuneo-Samsic), Guillaume Martin (Wanty Groupe Gobert), Alexis Vuillermoz, Alexandre Géniez (AG2R-La Mondiale)