Eduardo Sepúlveda lines out as team leader for Fortuneo-Vital Concept at the Tour de France while British fast man Dan McLay will make his debut in La Grande Boucle, which begins in Mont-Saint-Michel on Saturday.
Sepúlveda returns to the Tour for the second time and will seek a finish in the top 15 in Paris. The Argentinian was on course for a high overall finish a year ago only to be disqualified from the race for climbing into an Ag2r-La Mondiale team car for 100 metres in a moment of apparent panic after breaking his chain on stage 14.
Sepúlveda’s 2016 season has been blighted by the broken wrist he sustained when he was struck by a windswept barrier at La Drôme Classic in February, though the 24-year-old from Rawson in Patagonia returned to competitive action this month at the Tour of Luxembourg and placed 19th overall at the Route du Sud.
A strong time triallist and solid climber, Sepúlveda will be supported in the high mountains by Brice Feillu, stage winner in Andorra in 2009, and Chris Anker Sorensen, who arrived from Tinkoff this season.
Buoyed by a fine season to date, which has included wins at the GP de la Somme and GP de Denain, as well as a strong showing at Le Samyn, Dan McLay will lead the line for Fortuneo-Vital Concept in sprint finishes. The 24-year-old turned professional with the team last season.
“He’s the revelation of the year. After winning GP de Denain, he’s begun to realise his potential and the good results followed,” directeur sportif Sebastian Hinault said. “His objective will be to participate in as many sprints as possible. I’ve picked out six sprints that could suit him. He’s fast, he’s tough, he knows how to get into position and his teammates have confidence in him.”
The Fortuneo-Vital Concept line-up is completed by Florian Vachon, Anthony Delaplace, Vegard Breen, Armindo Fonseca and Pierre Luc-Périchon, who finished 6th at the French Championships on Sunday.
There is no place, however, for 2015 French champion Steven Tronet, while four-time Tour stage winner Pierrick Fedrigo also misses out on selection.
Fortuneo-Vital Concept for the Tour de France: Vegard Breen (Nor), Anthony Delaplace (Fra), Armindo Fonseca (Fra), Brice Feillu (Fra), Dan McLay (GBr), Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra), Chris Anker Sorensen (Dan), Eduardo Sepulveda (Arg) and Florian Vachon (Fra).