Monday, June 25, 2012

L'équipe Europcar pour le Tour de France

Click to enlarge photo(s)
David Veilleux (Europcar) during 2012 Canadian road championships
photo © Pasquale Stalteri / Miroir du Cyclisme 
L'équipe pour le Tour de France
(English below)

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Le Team Europcar a dévoilé la liste des coureurs sélectionnés pour le Tour de France qui s'élancera le week-end prochain de Belgique. L'équipe vendéenne est articulée autour de ses deux leaders : Thomas Voeckler et Pierre Rolland.

Le doute planait sur sa participation. Thomas Voeckler sera bien au départ du Tour de France le week-end prochain en Belgique. L'Alsacien, après huit jours de repos forcé, a repris l'entrainement ce lundi. Quatrième de la dernière grande Boucle, maillot jaune durant dix jours, le chouchou du public français aura encore forcément son mot à dire. Tout comme Pierre Rolland. Dixième et meilleur jeune l'an dernier, l'Orléanais a construit sa saison autour de la grand-messe de juillet. Pierre Rolland sera surveillé comme le lait sur le feu, lui qui a de belles ambitions, à l'image de tout le Team Europcar.

Pour accompagner le duo qui a ébloui l'été 2011, les Vendéens aligneront des lieutenants de choix. Cyril Gautier, à la recherche d'un premier succès de référence, a le talent et les jambes pour signer un grand coup cet été. Bien sûr, Christophe Kern n'est pas dans sa forme de l'an dernier mais il a démontré sur le Critérium du Dauphiné qu'il revenait petit à petit au premier plan. Et lui aussi a programmé sa montée en puissance en vue du Tour de France. Davide Malacarne, baroudeur italien, aura lui  aussi des arguments sur les parcours escarpés. Les pointes de vitesse de Yukiya Arashiro, Giovanni Bernaudeau et Yohann Gène seront de précieux atouts. Quant à Vincent Jérôme, il a démontré l'an dernier son courage et sa pugnacité dans la défense du maillot jaune. Il est logique de le retrouver en 2012.

L'équipe pour le Tour de France : Thomas VOECKLER, Pierre ROLLAND, Christophe KERN, Cyril GAUTIER, Yukiya ARASHIRO, Giovanni BERNAUDEAU, Yohann Gène, Vincent JÉRÔME, Davide MALACARNE.

1er remplaçant : Pichot Alexandre

2ème remplaçant : Veilleux David


Voeckler and Rolland lead Europcar team

Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland will lead Team Europcar's nine-man squad for the forthcoming Tour de France, which gets underway on Saturday with a prologue in the Belgian city of Liege.


Despite initial concerns about Voeckler's fitness, the 33 year old will take to the start of the Grande Boucle. The Frenchman - who famously wore the yellow jersey for 10 stages during last year's Tour - had been sidelined with a knee injury for eight days, but was back in the saddle for training on Monday.

Fourth in last year's race, the darling of the French public will certainly have strong ambitions in the 2012 Tour after a mixed start to the season.

Pierre Rolland, who finished 10th last year and picked up the white jersey as best young rider, will also be keen to build on his exceptional form in 2011. Rolland, 26 in October and so ineligible for the maillot blanc, has built his season around the Tour de France and is aware that he will now be a marked man in the peloton after a breakthrough race 12 months ago that included a memorable victory atop Alpe d'Huez in stage 19.

Accompanying leaders Voeckler and Rolland will be a diverse line-up with many cards to play over the three weeks in France.

Cyril Gautier, who impressed in fits and bursts last year (in particular during stage eight when he was part of a large breakaway), will target a maiden Grand Tour stage win. The 24 year old certainly has the talent to make a splash this summer – and targeting the white jersey is not out of the question.

Christophe Kern is not in the same form as he showed at key moments last year, but a promising return in the Criterium du Dauphine was enough to secure the former national time trial champion a place in Jean-Rene Bernaudeau's squad.

Vincent Jerome, who showed last year just how important he was to the team with some selfless performances in support of the maillot jaune, retains his place in the squad. The 27 year old will hope to have an incident-free start to the race following last year's unfortunate series of crashes in the opening stages.

New signing Davide Malacarne is making his Tour debut and will look to impress on the climbs or in breaks over rolling terrain. The 24-year-old all-rounder is also strong in the sprint, much like the remaining three riders on the roster: Japan's Yukiya Arashiro and French pair Giovanni Bernaudeau and Yohann Gene.

There is no place in the squad for the 2010 polka dot jersey winner Anthony Charteau, who supported Voeckler with much gusto in the mountains last year. Youngster Damien Gaudin did not make the final cut and so will have to wait at least another year before making his debut in the Tour. Sprinter Sebastian Chavanel also misses out.

Alexandre Pichot and David Veilleux have been named on the reserve list in the case of an injury occurring to one of the selected nine riders this week.

Team Europcar for the Tour: Thomas VOECKLER, Pierre ROLLAND, Christophe KERN, Cyril GAUTIER, Yukiya ARASHIRO, Giovanni BERNAUDEAU, Yohann GENE, Vincent JEROME, Davide MALACARNE

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