/ Cycling

AG2R opt for 'eight and half' Frenchmen

Updated: Sunday, 24 Jun 2012 20:07 | Comments

Nicolas Roche is the only non-Frenchman in the AG2R team
Nicolas Roche is the only non-Frenchman in the AG2R team

Nicolas Roche will be the only non-Frenchman in the AG2R-La Mondiale team for this year's Tour de France.

Eight of the nine-man team are French and there is no place for experienced Italian rider Rinaldo Nocentini who led the race in 2009. 

"We have never had so many French riders," said team manager Vincent Lavenu.

"There will be eight and a half," he added, in reference to Roche, who has spent much of his life living in France and whose mother is French.

Nocentini was left out of the nine-man squad despite having held the yellow jersey for eight stages in the 2009 Tour.

"It's hard for Nocentini to stay focused in a race for three weeks," he said about his Italian rider, who will go to the Tour of Poland in July.

The 2012 Tour de France gets underway in the Belgian city of Liege on June 30 and finishes three weeks later in Paris on 22 July.

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