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Julian Alaphilippe gets nod over sprinters to lead France at World Championships

Joe Robinson
8 Sep 2017

France ignore sprint options in favour of Julian Alaphilippe at World Championships

France have announced their squad for the World Championships with Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) named as the team leader for the road race in Bergen, Norway.

French National coach Cyrille Guimard has also ignored a sprint option leaving Arnaud Demare (FDJ), Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis) and Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie) all at home. 

Alaphilippe managed to overcome a knee injury that saw him miss the Tour de France, returning to enjoy a successful second half of the season. Racing an aggressive Vuelta a Espana, the 25-year-old was rewarded with a stage win into Xorret de Cati

This return to form, alongside third at this year's Milan-Sanremo has seen Alaphilippe be preferred over the trio of sprint options that France had its disposal. Guimard decided to overlook Demare, Bouhanni and Coquard in favour of a climber-heavy team.

This contradicts the choices of other nations, with Germany and host nation Norway naming sprinters in their squads.

John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) will lead Germany whilst Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) will share leadership duties in this home race. 

In support of Alaphilippe will be Tour de France animators Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie). This duo will be hoping to carry their Tour stage winning success across to the World's road race. 

Alexis Gougeard's (AG2R La Mondiale) impressive Vuelta performances have secured him a spot in both the road and time trial squads in Bergen.

In terms of experience, France will be relying on Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Julien Simon (Cofidis) and Cyril Gautier (AG2R La Mondiale) to guide the team around the 267.5km rolling route. 

Alongside the absent trio of sprinters, Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) will also not be present at this year's Worlds.

France will be hoping to secure their first men's road medal since 2005 when Anthony Geslin took bronze behind Tom Boonen in Madrid. 

Despite Alaphilippe being in clear form, France's decision to overlook a sprint option may come back to haunt them on the 20th of September.