French Pro-Continental team Cofidis has announced its nine-rider roster for the Tour de France with Rein Taaramäe and Dani Navarro as its protected GC riders. Runner-up at the 2011 U23 world champion road race, Adrien Petit, makes his Tour debut as the designated sprinter although the team is backing its two GC riders for a high overall placing.
In 2013, Navarro was the best placed Cofidis rider in ninth place overall although he was almost 16 minutes behind the winner, Chris Froome (Sky). Having entered the Tour last year with four GC riders, Cofidis have opted to back just Taaramäe and Navarro as its GC riders this year and have left Jerome Coppel and Christophe Le Mevel off its team roster as a result.
Coppel was also suffering the effects of a knee injury sustained at the Critérium du Dauphiné and his focus is now on the Vuelta a España.
Taaramäe's best result in 2014 so far was second overall at the Tour of Turkey which included a victory on the queen stage. It was an important confidence boost for the Estonian who had considered quitting professional cycling.
At the Critérium du Dauphiné, Navarro showed his form with ninth place overall, his best result since he finished eighth overall at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol in February, and will look at claiming a maiden Grand Tour stage win.
With a focus also on stage wins, Julien Simon, Nicolas Edet, Rudy Molard, Egoitz Garcia and Luis Angel Mate will look for opportunities throughout the race as well as supporting their two leaders on mountainous stages
Edet in particular, who won the mountain classification jersey at the 2013 Vuelta a España, will be called on for support in the high mountains in his second Tour appearance.
On the flat, the team is backing Petit in the sprints and he will be supported by Cyril Lemoine who has ridden the Tour on three previous occasions.
Cofidis for the 2014 Tour de France: Rein Taaramäe, Daniel Navarro, Luis Angel Mate, Rudy Molard, Nicolas Edet, Julien Simon, Egoitz Garcia, Adrien Petit and Cyril Lemoine.