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Veteran Frenchman hopes to improve on his 10th place from the 2011 edition and will be formidbaly supported by Bouet, Dumoulin, Bardet and Kadri

Photo: Crosnier-Lemaitre-Curutchet / KMSP

AG2R CITROEN TEAM

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JEAN-CHRISTOPHE PÉRAUD

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MAXIME BOUET

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ROMAIN BARDET

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SAMUEL DUMOULIN

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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11.06.2013 @ 16:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Veteran Jean-Christophe Peraud will once again be at the helm of the Ag2r team at Tour de France when the grand tour starts later this month on the island of Corsica. The French squad has named four of his support riders while the four remaining spots are still up for grabs.

 

Jean-Christophe Peraud finished 10th in his debut Tour de France in 2011 and after a less successful 2012 edition in which a crash derailed his GC ambitions, the veteran will once again line up at the race as the leader of his team. The former mountain biker - silver medallist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics - turned his full attention to road racing in 2010 after having beaten Sylvain Chavanel at the French time trial championships in 2009 and since then he has developed into one of the world's best time stage race riders.

 

This year has, however, seen his talent blossom and his results has been far better than ever before. Already in the early part of February he used a stage win in the queen stage to the top of Mont Faron to finish 2nd in theTour Mediteraneen and he went on to finish 3rd in the Paris-Nice.

 

A few weeks he was once again in the mix at an ASO-organized stage race in France, finishing 5th at the Criterium International. The Vuelta al Pais Vasco was his a race to forget for the veteran Frenchman but he bounced back with a 6th place finish in the Tour de Romandie.

 

He had a long break from competition during most of the month of May and is right now riding strongly at the Tour de Suisse.  After one time trial and two consecutive mountain stages, he is 9th overall and with a hilly race against the clock coming up on Sunday, he could very well take another top 10 result in the Swiss race.

 

4 riders have been named for the Ag2r line-up and they will all support their captain while also chasing individual success. Maxime Bouet has had a fantastic season, taking a stage win and 3rd overall in the Giro del Trentino, and is riding extremely well in the Tour de Suisse these days. This splendid condition makes it no surprise that team management see him as a valuable support rider in the mountains.

 

The same goes for young talent Romain Bardet who will line up for his first ever Tour de France. The young Frenchman performed strongly in his debut season last year, being almost impossible to reel in during the Amstel Gold Race and also attacking in the Tour of Lombardy. This year he has raced solidly and aggressively all season and the team now wants to expose his talent to a worldwide audience by lining him up in the biggest race of them all.

 

Blel Kadri was earlier in his career regarded as a big stage racing talent but has now evolved into an opportunist. Having been extremely aggressive all season, he finished one of his attacks off in splendid fashion when he single-handedly kept the peloton at bay to win the Roma Maxima one-day race. The team hopes to use that resistance and aggressiveness to spur a surprise at some point during the Tour.

 

Finally, Samuel Dumoulin will line up for another participation in the Tour. The Frenchman has had a solid first season in his new team and recently won the Grand Prix Plumelec-Morbihan. Even though he is not a pure sprinter, his fast finish makes him a danger man in hillier finales and we should see him go on the attack in an attempt to repeat his 2008 stage win in La Grande Boucle.

 

The final four spots are still up for grabs and the final selection will be made public after the French championships, one week prior to the Grand Depart on Corsica on June 29.

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