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Taaramae, Navarro, Coppel and Le Mevel have all done well in stage races in the past and will lead Cofidis' GC charge at the Tour

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CHRISTOPHE LE MEVEL

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DANIEL NAVARRO GARCIA

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EGOITZ GARCIA

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GUILLAUME LEVARLET

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JEROME COPPEL

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LUIS ANGEL MATE

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REIN TAARAMAE

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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YOANN BAGOT

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24.06.2013 @ 17:36 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Cofidis will focus on the GC and its climbers at this year's Tour de France and has chosen a line-up with no less than 4 riders with GC potential. The team hopes to overcome a bad start to the season by winning a stage and placing a rider in the overall top 10.

 

It has been a meager year for the Cofidis team so far but the French team is determined to change its fortunes at the world's biggest race, the Tour de France. Prior to this season, the squad signed a number of strong climbers with the aim of posing a strong GC threat at its big home race and they have all carefully built up their condition for the major target.

 

The lack of results so far are partly due to this heavy focus on the Tour as all the team's star riders have targeted the Tour from the beginning of the year. While success in the early part of the season would have been welcome, it has mostly been about success on the biggest scene of them all.

 

Hence, it is no surprise that the team has selected a line-up which is purely directed towards the GC and the mountain stages. There will be very little room for sprinters or the usual strategy of long-distance suicide breaks during the first week of the race.

 

The team's charge will be led by Rein Taaramae and Daniel Navarro. The Estonian Taaramae has long be proclaimed a future Tour winner but has so far struggled in the grand tours. He abandoned his maiden Tour in 2010, citing fatigue but bounced back with a solid 11th place overall in 2011. Last year he appeared to finally crack the top 10 or even possibly win the white jersey but faded after a very impressive start to the race.

 

The early part of the season has been terrible for the Estonian who has been unable to perform at his best level due to injury and illness. He recently returned to form at the Dauphine, performing splendidly in the first mountain stage before fading towards the end of the race. He won his national road race championship yesterday and seems to have hit his peak form just in time for his most important objective. Actually, his lack of racing in the early part of the season could be a blessing in disguise as he has earlier blamed a heavy racing schedule for his poor showing at grand tours.

 

Daniel Navarro left his usual role as trusted domestique for Alberto Contador prior to this season in an attempt to target some personal success. He has been the bright spot in the Cofidis team during the early season, winning the Vuelta a Murcia and finishing 5th at the Dauphiné. He last aimed at the GC in a grand tour in the 2009 Vuelta where he finished 13th and hopes to improve on that performance this time.

 

Jerome Coppel left the Sojasun team and his captaincy status to join Cofidis prior to the season and said at the time that he would be happy to support Taaramae at the Tour. He has had a terrible season so far and he most recently finished a modest 59th at the Dauphiné. Hence, he needs to improve considerably to improve on his 13th place in the 2011 Tour de France.

 

The team's final GC option is Christophe Le Mevel who finished 10th in 2009 before leaving France to race as part of the Garmin team. He had to disappointing seasons at the American squad and hoped to return to his best when he signed for Cofidis prior to the season. That has certainly not been the case and like Coppel, he has been far from his best so far.

 

The 4 captains will be supported by young climbers Yoann Bagot and Rody Molard who have both improved considerable this season, the former even finishing 3rd at the Tour of Turkey. Spanish duo Egoitz Garcia and Luis Angel Mate will be stage hunters in the hilly stages.

 

While the first 8 riders were selected some time ago, Guillaume Levarlet only learned off his selection yesterday. A recent 9th place at the tough Route du Sud was enough to convince his team management to include him in the line-up and by selecting another climber, the team has done nothing to hide what will be its main focus during the three weeks in France.

 

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

 

Cofidis for the Tour de France:

Rein Taaramae, Christophe Le Mevel, Jerome Coppel, Daniel Navarro, Rudy Molard, Yoann Bagot, Luis Angel Mate, Egoitz Garcia and Guillaume Levarlet

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