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Pinot to focus on improving last year's 10th place while Bouhanni will lead the team's charge in the sprints

Photo: Sirotti

ALEXANDRE GENIEZ

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ARNOLD JEANNESSON

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ARTHUR VICHOT

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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MURILO FISCHER

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NACER BOUHANNI

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PIERRICK FEDRIGO

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THIBAUT PINOT

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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WILLIAM BONNET

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24.06.2013 @ 14:54 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

FDJ has multiple ambitions for its most important, the Tour de France, which starts on Sunday in Corsica. Youngsters Thibaut Pinot and Nacer Bouhanni will lead the charge with the former focusing on the GC and the white jersey and the latter chasing stage wins in the sprints.

 

FDJ - which will change name to FDJ.fr on Saturday - has announced a very strong line-up for this year's Tour de France and will target multiple objectives throughout the three weeks. Thibaut Pinot will once again focus on the GC and a possible win in the young rider's competition while Nacer Bouhanni hopes to take a stage win in his maiden appearance at his big home race.

 

Pinot debuted in the race last year, taking a stage win in Switzerland and finishing 10th overall. Last year he only earned his selection through a strong performance in the Tour de Suisse but this year his entire season has been built around the Tour de France.

 

This weekend he told Cyclingnews that his mind is completely different from last year as he is now the leader of the team and so carries much more responsibility. He will try to improve on last year's 10th place while also possibly winning the white jersey for best young rider despite fierce competition from the likes of Nairo Quintana and last year's winner Tejay Van Garderen.

 

Early in the season he has targeted the Volta a Catalunya, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse and he proved splendid condition by finishing in the top 10 in the former and the latter while he was at a disadvantage in the time trial-loaded Romandie event. His recent 4th place in Switzerland proves that he has hit peak condition just in time for his major objective.

 

Pinot will enjoy formidable support in the mountains from Arnold Jeannesson and Alexandre Geniez. The former was the team's designated captain last year but had to forfeit his participation due to injury. This year he was set to target the Giro but had to abandon the race due to back problems. He recently showed that he was back at a solid level by supporting Pinot in the Tour de Suisse. Geniez bounced back from a troubled start to the season in the Dauphiné where he finished 12th overall.

 

It will, however, not be all about the GC as former French champion Nacer Bouhanni will make his Tour debut this year. He raced his maiden grand tour at the Vuelta last year, finishing 2nd once before leaving early. He also raced the Giro where he finished 2nd, 3rd and 4th before making another premature departure to stay fresh for the Tour. Hence, this three-week race will be his third in a row and he looks forward to go head-to-head with the likes of Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Marcel Kittel.

 

He will be supported by Murilo Fischer and William Bonnet who are both experienced lead-out men. At the same time, the team will chase stage wins through perennial attackers Pierrick Fedrigo, Jeremy Roy and newly crowned French champion Arthur Vichot.

 

Surprisingly, there was no spot for veteran Sandy Casar who had hoped to complete all three grand tours this year but crashed out of the Giro in week 1. He returned to competition at the Route du Sud and despite showing a solid condition, he was not deemed ready for the world's biggest race.

 

The race starts on Saturday with a road stage on Corsica.

 

FDJ.com for the Tour de France:

Thibaut Pinot, Nacer Bouhanni, William Bonnet, Alexandre Geniez, Arnold Jeannesson, Murilo Fischer, Arthur Vichot, Pierrick Fedrigo and Jeremy Roy

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