Team DSM's French rider Romain Bardet
Paris (AFP) - Romain Bardet will lead a revamped Team DSM made up largely of newcomers in this year’s Tour de France, the team announced on Thursday.
Australian Ben O’Connor will lead the AG2R Citroen team along with Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels, with former yellow jersey wearer Greg Van Avermaet of Belgium overlooked.
Bardet, who finished second overall in 2016 and third in 2017, is one of DSM’s most experienced riders along with German sprinter John Degenkolb, with both returning to the race, which starts in Denmark on July 1, after missing last year’s edition.
Dutch rider Nils Eekhoff is participating in a second Tour de France, but the other riders, including Italian sprinter Alberto Dainese, a stage winner in the last Giro d’Italia, will be making their debuts.
The team has been overhauled from last year’s Tour, with only Eekhoff still present.
It will be the ninth Tour de France for Bardet, winner of three stages in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The 31-year-old’s last race was the Giro d’Italia which he pulled out of in the 13th stage on May 20.
AG2R’s O’Connor will compete in his second Tour de France, with fit-again Jungels selected after showing form in the recent Tour of Switzerland.
Geoffrey Bouchard will compete in his first Tour, aged 30, having won the ‘King of the Mountains’ jerseys at both the Vuelta a Espana and the Giro in his career.
But Van Avermaet, who wore the yellow jersey for 11 days in 2016 and 2018, has missed out.
“It’s a difficult decision to deprive yourself of a charismatic rider, with a strong record,” said AG2R general manager Vincent Lavenu.
Romain Bardet (FRA), Alberto Dainese (ITA), John Degenkolb (GER), Nils Eekhoff (NED), Chris Hamilton (AUS), Andreas Leknessund (NOR), Martijn Tusveld (NED), Kevin Vermaerke (USA)
AG2R Citroen team:
Ben O’Connor (AUS), Geoffroy Bouchard (FRA), Mikael Cherel (FRA), Benoit Cosnefroy (FRA), Stan Dewulf (BEL), Bob Jungels (LUX), Oliver Naesen (BEL), Aurelien Paret-Peintre (FRA)