Tour de France 2012 Team Preview: Cofidis

Photo copyright Cofidis Cycling

Cofidis created a bit of a stir Monday when it was announced that team manager Eric Boyer had been fired after months of rumors. (Why they waited until the week before the Tour is anyone’s guess.) Fair or not, the decision to fire Boyer sends a powerful message to the nine riders chosen to represent Cofidis at the Tour de France: Get results—or else.

But like many of the French teams in this year’s race, Cofidis heads to the Tour with a ragtag group of escape artists and fringe top-10 GC-contenders. Of them, Samuel Dumoulin, David Moncoutie, and Rémy Di Gregorio are the team’s best chances for stage success. Moncoutie has skipped the Tour in past years to focus on the Vuelta, but management changed his mind last year in an effort to get the team’s best stage winner in a situation to grab headlines in the race that matters most.

As far as the GC is concerned, Rein Taaramae will once again be given a chance to prove that he’s a stage race contender. (After several year’s spent on many pundits’ “Rider to Watch” lists, it’s hard to believe that Taaramae is still only 25.) An above-average time trialist, Taaramae could thrive in a Tour that goes easy on the mountains and heavy on the clock. Taaramae missed last year’s white jersey by 46 seconds—he should challenge for this year’s title.

Man of the Hour

David Moncoutie is one of the most successful opportunists in the sport. With two stage wins in the Tour de France and stage wins in each of the last four Tours of Spain (incredible for a non-sprinter), the 37-year-old clearly knows how to find the “right” breakaway. Moncoutie could also ride himself into the polka dot jersey early in the race, thus granting his beleaguered team a few days in the spotlight.

Up-and-Comer

Jan Ghyselinck was once one of the most successful U23 riders in the sport, hence his first professional contract with HTC-HighRoad. Despite still being winless as a pro, the Belgian rides his first Tour de France this year and could certainly turn things around with a fine performance.

On the Hot Seat

Considering the precedent set by Boyer’s firing, just about everyone.

Unsung Hero

Believe it or not, Cofidis (the French credit company) is one of the longest-running title sponsors in the sport right now. (Heck, this is the team that signed Lance Armstrong before he had cancer.) In a day and age when title sponsors come and go from one to season to next, it’s nice to see some companies sticking with their squads through thick and thin.

Follow Whit on Twitter at @whityost

About Whit

My experiences might easily fit many cycling fans' definitions of “living the dream.” Since getting hooked on the sport watching Lance Armstrong win the 1993 U.S. Pro Championship, I've raced as an amateur on Belgian cobbles, traveled Europe to help build a European pro team, and piloted that team from Malaysia to Mont Ventoux. As a former assistant director sportif with Mercury-Viatel, I've also seen the less dreamy side of the sport – the side rife with broken contracts, infighting, and positive dope tests. These days, I live with my lovely wife in Pennsylvania and share my experiences and views on the sport at Bicycling Magazine, the Embrocation Cycling Journal, and at my own site, Pavé.
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One Response to Tour de France 2012 Team Preview: Cofidis

  1. Q says:

    From what I remember, I wouldn’t call the Cofidis treatment of Lance Armstrong in 1996-1997 sticking with him through thick and thin. To be fair, that was probably the doing of team management, not the sponsor.

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