Total-Direct Energie, one of the teams invited as a wildcard to this year’s Tour de France, has announced its long list of nine riders for the race. And while it is no surprise to see their leader Lilian Calmejane in the selection, Dutch star Niki Terpstra was visibly absent.
Terpstra, 36, crashed heavily on a training ride just weeks ago, suffering a concussion, broken ribs, and a fractured clavicle. And while the team held out hope that he might still recover, after consulting with the team’s sports directors and medical staff, a full recovery before the start of the Tour August 29 is simply not realistic.
The squad’s nine-rider long list includes: Niccolò Bonifazio, Lilian Calmejane, Jérôme Cousin, Fabien Grellier, Romain Sicard, Julien Simon, Geoffrey Soupe, Rein Taaramäe, and Anthony Turgis. Eight riders will finally be selected.
Calmejane, who has won stages at both the Tour and Vuelta a España, will lead his French team.
While the loss of former monument winner Terpstra will strike a blow to the team, they pack plenty of other riders able to snatch stage wins. Other key riders will be Anthony Turgis, a punchy all arounder, as well as Italian sprinter Niccolò Bonifazio, who scored an impressive stage win for the team at Paris-Nice in March. Bonifazio, who finished third on the Champs-Elysées on the final stage of the Tour last year, also scored a victory earlier in the season at the Saudi Tour.