Sarthe in search of a new champion

The 56th edition of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire will take place from April 8 to 11, 2008. The race is looking to crown a new champion, as title defender Andreas Klöden will not take to the start in France, preferring the Tour of Turkey instead. But his Astana team is riding with a vengeance these days, and winning left and right, so there is a chance that someone from the team will at least make it another victory for the team. Or some stage wins, for the minimum.

Strong competition is expected to come from the 'home' teams, Cofidis (Stéphane Augé), AG2R La Mondiale, Française des Jeux, Agritubel, Bouygues Telecom and Crédit Agricole. The American Slipstream squad is interested to get a win after racing well in Europe, while Gerolsteiner will bank on sprinter Robert Förster.

Caisse d'Epargne will be spearheaded by Oscar Pereiro and the field is completed by non-ProTour teams like Volksbank, Skil-Shimano, CSF Group Navigare, Ceramica Flaminia Bossini Docce and of course French outfits. Auber 93 and Bretagne Armor Lux will try to create surprises on home soil.

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