John Gadret aiming for Giro d’Italia podium with AG2R La Mondiale
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

John Gadret aiming for Giro d’Italia podium with AG2R La Mondiale

by Ben Atkins at 1:20 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
French cyclocross specialist aiming for Italian success once more

john gadretAG2R La Mondiale has announced the nine-man team that will contest the Giro d’Italia, which starts in Herning, Denmark on May 5th. After the disqualification of original winner Alberto Contador, John Gadret has been elevated to third overall in last year’s race, making the cyclocross specialist the first Frenchman to podium in a Grand Tour since Richard Virenque finished second in the 1997 Tour de France.

Having been declared fourth at the time however, Gadret never got to stand on the Milan podium - although he did win the tough hilltop stage to Castelfidardo (pictured) - and so will be aiming to do so this time. The shaven-headed rider has had a quiet 2012 season to date, with results that almost exactly mirror those of 2011.

Gadret will be supported in the mountainous race by Hubert Dupont, who was matching his compatriot in the later stages of last year’s race. The 31-year-old’s eleventh place in the race, which was followed by 21st in the Tour, reflects the new found confidence of many French riders, and his seventh overall in the very tough Giro del Trentino shows that Dupont could be ready to step into his teammate’s shoes.

The team’s sprinter will be Italian Manuel Belletti, who took a breakaway stage in the 2010 edition of the race, and he will be accompanied by compatriot Matteo Montaguti, meaning that two of the team’s three Italians will be riding their home tour; Rinaldo Nocentini will likely be concentrating on the Tour de France, as usual.

As the French team’s often do, AG2R La Mondiale will be sending some of its young riders to the race for development, with Julien Berard and Ben Gastauer riding their second Giri; while 31-year-old Gregor Gazvoda will make his Grand Tour debut, having finally made the leap from Continental level to the WorldTour this year.

AG2R La Mondiale for the Giro d’Italia
Manuel Belletti, Julien Berard, Guillaume Bonnafond, Hubert Dupont, John Gadret, Ben Gastauer, Gregor Gazvoda, Matteo Montaguti and Mathieu Perget

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