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Tour de France

Tour de France: Groupama-FDJ, Bahrain Victorious confirm Tour de France teams

Groupama-FDJ to challenge with sprinter Arnaud Démare and climber David Gaudu, Bahrain Victorious look to carry 2021 momentum with Jack Haig, Sonny Colbrelli.

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Groupama-FDJ and Bahrain Victorious may not be the headline teams for the 2021 Tour de France, but both could have big parts to play.

The two squads confirmed their eight-rider teams for the Tour on Friday. Groupama-FDJ will center around top sprinter Arnaud Démare and French GC hope David Gaudu, while Bahrain Victorious brings a team focusing on stage wins and a GC placing with Jack Haig.

The news comes hot on the heels of a flurry of roster announcements, with Ineos Grenadiers, Lotto-Soudal, Israel Start-Up Nation and Qhubeka Assos also revealing their Tour selections Friday.

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Bahrain Victorious has also selected Matej Mohorič, Wout Poels, Dylan Teuns and Sonny Colbrelli alongside Haig in an eight that packs attacking options.

“The whole team is super motivated to entertain fans of cycling all around the world with an aggressive way of racing,” said sport director Rolf Adag.

“We take a lot of confidence into the Tour from the results we achieved as a team in 2021 and will fight to keep the spirit high. Our team is prepared to take on every single stage, like one-day races.”

Bahrain Victorious has been one of the surprise stars of the season so far. Damiano Caruso finished second at the Giro d’Italia and the squad has taken marquee stage wins at the Giro, Critérium du Dauphiné and Tour de Suisse with Gino Mäder and Mark Padun.

The team addressed the surprise omission of 24-year-old pair Padun and Mäder.

“After the Dauphiné there was the temptation to take Mark Padun to the Tour. The same goes for Gino Mäder after his Giro and Tour de Suisse wins,” said performance director Roger Hammond. “However, these are young talents in the team with other goals this season, and the team has a responsibility to look at the longer-term project for these riders.”

There were fewer surprises in the Groupama-FDJ lineup, headlined by Démare and Gaudu.

Démare will have the service of leadout men and rouleurs Stefan Küng, Jacopo Guarnieri and Miles Scotson as he vies for sprint wins against the likes of Caleb Ewan, Sam Bennett and Peter Sagan. The Frenchman was the star of last year’s Giro with four stage wins and the ciclamino jersey, and has been rewarded with his first Tour start since 2018.

Gaudu will ride a free role as he steps into the shoes of the struggling Thibaut Pinot, who is still suffering from the back injury sustained at last year’s Tour de France. The 24-year-old Gaudu took two stages at last year’s Vuelta a España while riding into eighth overall and could be France’s best hope for GC success at this year’s Tour.