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“This Tour honours the Alps with many stages close to home, which I find rather pleasing. There are not many time-trial kilometers and it should be rather favorable for our team, especially Romain Bardet,” Lavenu said.

Photo: Sirotti








22.10.2014 @ 18:49 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Even though their team leader-to-be had never made it back to Europe to participate in the Tour de France this year, last edition of la Grande Boucle was arguably the most successful for Ag2r-La Mondiale. After winning the teams classification and finishing runner-up in the GC with Jean-Christophe Peraud, the French squad look forward to the upcoming 2015 edition of the race, in which young Romain Bardet is expected to excel.

Ag2r-La Mondiale lined up at the 102nd edition of the Tour de France with two strong leaders in Peraud and Bardet and it took over two weeks for the older Frenchman to emphasize his supremacy in the squad and concluding his career’s best performance with runner-up spot claimed in Paris.


The latter settled for supporting his 36-year old countryman in the final week and for sixth place in the general classification, but team manager Vincent Lavenu hints that unveiled on Wednesday climbers-friendly 2015 Tour de France route is tailor made for Bardet.


“It’s a Tour de France that I particularly appreciate. As in 2014, the first week will be dangerous with cobbles, wind and many risks. We will have to be very careful and lose as little time as possible. Then, we will arrive on mountain. With five summit finishes, the Mur de Huy or the Montée Laurent Jalabert in Mende, it’s a route that seems to be very difficult and pro climbers as Contador or Quintana,” Lavenu said in the official press release.


“This Tour honours the Alps with many stages close to home, which I find rather pleasing. There are not many time-trial kilometers and it should be rather favorable for our team, especially Romain Bardet.”


Christophe Riblon was the last rider to triumph on L’Alpe d’Huez in 2013, when the legendary ascent was tackled twice, but surprisingly didn’t share any comment on its return in 2015 Tour de France. Instead, the 33-year old Frenchman agreed with a general opinion that the first nine days of competition are going to be very tricky, with cobbles and wind playing important roles.


“I note in particular that there will not be quiet stage and something should happen every day with much movement. No transition stages this year with stages along the sea, some hill finishes as at Huy or at Mende, and cobbles,” Riblon said.


“The menu will be full of difficulties in the Pyrenees and the Alps with a lot of climbs. Once more time, it will be a tough Tour with short stages that is interesting. Those who want to play for the overall standings will have to be at their best level from start to finish.”


“We have always set ambitious goals. We want to be at the highest level and we work to achieve it. Ag2r-La Mondiale invest a lot in our team and it pushes us to do our best. See that we are able to get as good results as this year motivates us even more. We all want that it works well in 2015 and that our group of mates lives again great moments.”


Also Blel Kadri, who animated many stages with his breakaway attempts in this year’s Tour de France and eventually prevailed as the strongest in Gerardmer, also pointed out to the difficult first week.


“It’s a very interesting route. We will be busy during the first week with probably windy stages in Holland. The Mur de Huy and the cobbles should also have an important role to play in the overall standings and we should not have to be trapped. The team time-trial will close the first round with a uphill finish in Plumelec.”


“The second and the third weeks should be more suitable for our team. We should play some roles on many mountain stages. And there’s a finish in La Toussuire that we know very well because we regularly go there for training camps and we know that the roads in this region are very hard!”



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