Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale announces line-up, including return to Tour de France of Sam Bennett

Irish sprinter Sam Bennett is set to make his long-anticipated return to the Tour de France this summer, four years after his last appearance in cycling’s biggest stage race. Bennett, 33, will be part of the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale lineup for the Tour, confirmed today. The team has both General Classification (GC) and stage win ambitions.

Austrian rider Felix Gall, winner of the ultra-difficult Col de la Loze stage in last year’s Tour, will be aiming to build on his eighth-place overall finish in 2023. Recently crowned French National Champion Paul Lapeira will be making his debut in the race.

Surprisingly, Benoît Cosnefroy is absent from the Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale roster this July, opting to prepare for the Olympic Games instead of racing the Tour. This marks the first time Cosnefroy, who has won six races this season, will miss his home Grand Tour since 2018.

Bennett’s journey back to the tour

Bennett’s confirmation for the Tour means a return to a race where he claimed two stage wins and the points jersey in 2020. However, he was not selected in 2021 by his then team, Deceuninck-QuickStep. A return to his former squad Bora-Hansgrohe in 2022 and 2023 saw him miss out on the Tour again.

After switching to Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale, Bennett took four stage wins and the overall at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque. He narrowly missed out on victory in the opening leg of the Critérium du Dauphiné and is now confirmed for the Tour.

“I’m delighted to return to the Tour de France after a four-year absence,” Bennett said in a team press release. “I’d like to thank the team for this incredible opportunity. Coming back to the Grande Boucle with a French team is a special feeling. To win a stage for this team in the world’s greatest race would be even more special!”

Team dynamics and objectives

In a lineup filled with one-day racers and breakaway talent, 2020 Tour de France Pyrenean stage winner Nans Peters will be taking part. Classics specialists Dorian Godon and Oliver Naesen are also included, alongside Bruno Armirail, who will defend the team’s interests in the time trial stages. Armirail recently secured the French National Time Trial title for the second time in his career, briefly led the Giro d’Italia last year, and almost clinched a Critérium du Dauphiné stage a few weeks ago.

After a dramatic increase in victories this year, with 26 to date compared to 9 for the whole of 2023, Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale will face heightened expectations this July as they hunt for their 23rd stage win and more in team history.

Quotes from the team manager

“We have a twofold objective going into this Tour de France,” said team manager Vincent Lavenu. “Firstly, to confirm our performance last year in the overall classification with Felix Gall. Secondly, we’re also looking for at least one stage win.”

“Sam Bennett will be one of our best chances in the sprint finishes, but we also have other riders capable of raising their arms. I’m thinking of Dorian Godon and Paul Lapeira who, in the event of a small group finish, can make their speed count.”

Decathlon AG2R La Mondiale for the 2024 Tour de France

  • Bruno Armirail
  • Sam Bennett
  • Felix Gall
  • Dorian Godon
  • Paul Lapeira
  • Oliver Naesen
  • Nans Peters
  • Nicolas Prodhomme

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