• Bardet is no stranger to going on the attack (Getty) (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
French team AG2R-La Mondiale have announced seven of its nine riders for the 2016 Tour de France with the team based around yellow jersey hopeful Romain Bardet.
By
Cycling Central

Source:
AG2R La Mondiale
21 Jun 2016 - 11:37 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2016 - 1:29 PM

Bardet will find support in Italian Domenico Pozzovivo, Belgian Jan Bakelants, and French riders Mikael Cherel, Cyril Gautier, Alexis Gougeard and Alexis Vuillermoz.

The last two riders will be announced after numerous national road championships are held next weekend in Europe.  

The 25-year-old Bardet further staked his claim on team leadership by finishing second overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné. But it didn't come without some drama. He crashed on stage 2 losing 45 seconds to then-leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).

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The Frenchman rallied on stage 6 attacking on the Col du Madelaine climb with compatriot Thibaut Pinot (FDJ). He lost to Pinot, but it pushed him further up the classification.

AG2R-La Mondiale general manager Vincent Levanu said that other AG2R-La Mondiale riders on the team could still shine while supporting Bardet.

“Romain will be the sole leader but we can’t close the door on other riders,” Lavenu said.

“In the overall standings he doesn’t want to jump the gun and put himself under pressure. But if he is as strong as in the Dauphine I’m not worried but acknowledge there is other criteria in the Tour.”

Bardet finished sixth in the 2014 Tour de France and ninth in 2015. 

Missing from the team’s roster is Jean-Christophe Peraud, the runner-up from the 2014 Tour de France. Peraud suffered a crash and landed on his face on stage 3 of the Giro d’Italia. While he returned to racing at the Tour de Suisse, he finished 55th overall. 

“[Peraud] had a difficult Tour of Switzerland, but finished correctly,” Levanu said. “We’ll talk after the French championships. But there’s no question of forcing him to race the Tour.”