Sojasun sending a squad to attack the Tour de France
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sojasun sending a squad to attack the Tour de France

by Kyle Moore at 3:07 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France
With no true leader, French continental team will look for opportunities in breaks

Julien SimonThe French continental squad Sojasun got a wildcard invitation to the Tour de France again, and this time around, Stephane Heulot’s team will be throwing all caution to the wind. Sojasun will aim to get into breakaways, turn the race on its head, have each rider play to his strength, and try to steal a stage win.

The previous two seasons, Sojasun had Jérôme Coppel to utilize as a team leader, and the Frenchman performed adequately, finishing 13th in 2011 and 21st last year. But with Coppel’s transfer to Cofidis, Sojasun is without a man in need of protection for the overall classification.

Sojasun will be guided around France by team directors Nicolas Guillé and Lylian Lebreton. Lebreton summed up his team’s strategy beginning on Saturday in Corsica.

“We have to find opportunities to fulfill our goal of winning a stage,” Lebreton stated. “We are ready to go into battle. Every morning, we must say that we can win the stage. On a daily basis, whenever there is an opening, we must seize it.”

“This year, the leader is the team, and the real ambition is to win a stage,” Heulot added. “This year, we tackle the Tour de France with a spirit of adventurousness – uninhibited – and primed to attack.”

The team previously known as Saur Sojasun became just Sojasun this year, and team colours went from primarily blue to green. Though the team roster is not completely green, the squad features a number of riders competing in their third edition of the race. Sojasun’s oldest rider on the roster is a Tour rookie. Maxime Mederel makes his debut at 32, and neo-pro Alexis Vuillermoz breaks in at age 25.

Along with them, Sojasun features riders who have won this year, and riders who have won before. Brice Feillu owns a Tour de France stage win, which he got in 2009 as a member of former French team Agritubel. Jonathan Hivert has three wins this year, and is coming off a second place overall finish in the Tour of Luxembourg. In a fast and difficult finish, Sojasun will have puncheurs Julien Simon (pictured) and Julien El Fares.

“The Tour is very mountainous, with a colossal last week,” Heulot continued. “I trust my guys. Brice Feillu knows big mountains and Maxime Mederel climbs well. Alexis Vuillermoz is our challenger for the future although he has a few years of road cycling in his legs. Anthony Delaplace is a fighter who gets bored quickly when he’s stuck too long in the peloton. Julien El Fares is a classic rider, and Jean-Marc Marino is a driving force in our group cohesion. Julien Simon’s quality as a puncheur is well known. Jonathan Hivert knows how to win races while Cyril Lemoine is displaying beautiful form.

“Yes, frankly, I believe in the power of the Sojasun team to be a true leader of the Tour de France, and reap some benefits.”

Sojasun for the Tour de France:
Anthony Delaplace, Julien El Fares, Brice Feillu, Jonathan Hivert, Cyril Lemoine, Jean-Marc Marino, Julien Simon, Maxime Mederel, Alexis Vuillermoz


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