Cycling - Tour de France

Roche and Peraud head AG2R challenge

Jean-Christophe Peraud and Nicolas Roche will lead AG2R-La Mondiale at this year's Tour de France.

 
Roche and Peraud head AG2R - Cycling - Tour de FranceAFP
 

Ireland's Roche is the only non-Frenchman in the nine-man team.

The 27-year-old, son of 1987 winner Stephen, has finished in the top 25 on GC in each of the past three years but has yet to record a stage victory.

Former mountain bike star Peraud was ninth overall last year.

The duo plus Mikael Cherel and Hubert Dupont were part of the initial selection with Christophe Riblon, Blel Kadri, Maxime Bouet, Sébastien Minard and Lloyd Mondory completing the team.

There was no place for experienced Italian rider Rinaldo Nocentini who led the race in 2009.

"We have never had so many French riders," said team manager Vincent Lavenu.

"There will be eight and a half," he added, in reference to Roche, whose mother is French.

Nocentini was left out despite holding the yellow jersey for eight stages in the 2009 Tour.

"It's hard for Nocentini to stay focused in a race for three weeks," Lavenu added

The race gets underway in Liege on Saturday.

TEAM:

- Maxime BOUET (France)

- Mikael CHEREL (France)

- Hubert DUPONT (France)

- Blel KADRI (France)

- Sébastien MINARD (France)

- Lloyd MONDORY (France)

- Jean-Christophe PERAUD (France)

- Christophe RIBLON (France)

- Nicolas ROCHE (Ireland)

 

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