In the fight for the yellow jersey, Arkea has the best option with a team built around Nairo Quintana and Warren Barguil, with Winner Anacona, Maxime Bouet, Dayer Quintana, Diego Rosa, Clément Russo and Connor Swift all riding in support.
Quintana blew through the early-season winning races like the Tour de la Provence as well as the queen stage in Paris-Nice, as he enjoyed the full support of his new French team. And while Barguil always struggles in the early season, the best climber in the 2017 Tour has ridden consistently well since racing has returned in August.
“Nairo is our designated leader for the Tour and he has just come off of an altitude camp in Isola 2000 [the Alps behind Nice],” said team manager Emmanuel Hubert in a press release. “Regarding his knee, which he injured in a training crash last July, he is feeling no pain and will be at the start of the Tour in excellent condition. Warren will first work for Nairo, but if opportunities present themselves he will also be able to play his own hand on certain stages.”
Meanwhile, the Cofidis team is splitting its line-up around French climber Guillaume Martin and Italian sprinter Elia Viviani, both new recruits to the team. Olympic gold medalist Viviani already won a stage in the Tour last year and is hoping to repeat this year, while Martin, who finished third in both the Mont Ventoux Dénivilé Challenge and the Critérium du Dauphiné in August, is showing the best condition of his life and could well eye a top-five finish in this year’s mountainous Tour.
Filling out the squad are: Simone Consonni, Christophe Laporte, Nicolas Edet, Jésus Herrada, Anthony Pérez and Pierre-Luc Périchon.
And finally, the Total Direct Energie team will lead off with puncher Lilian Calmejane and Italian sprinter Niccolò Bonifazio. Calmejane won an impressive stage in his 2017 Tour debut, while Bonifazio finished third on the Champs-Elysées last year and has already scored two victories this year, including a stage in Paris-Nice.
The team will be rounded out by: Anthony Turgis, Mathieu Burgaudeau, Romain Sicard, Fabien Grellier, Jérôme Cousin and Geoffrey Soupe.
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