The French cycling Federation announced their squad for the World Championships, and they
will look to their mixed bag of riders to try and deliver a good
result. This, however, could be difficult, as the course at Zolder
is notoriously flat, and the French don't have a sprinter who could
challenge the elite fastmen such as Cipollini, Zabel & Freire.
Despite this, there is no doubt that the country has some of the
World's best riders competing for them. Surprisingly, Patrice Halgand and
Didier Rous were not selected for the team.
Men's Road Race
The most experienced rider is Laurent Jalabert. Born on the 30th
November 1968, JaJa has been either the best, or one of the best
French riders for the over ten years. He started his career at
Toshiba (1989 - 1991) before moving to the Spanish ONCE team in 1992
where he stayed until the year 2000. His current team, CSC -
Tiscali, will be where he finishes his thirteen year career, in
which he has amassed over 160 victories. He has worn the Maillot
Jaune in the Tour de France, and, in the same event, he has won the
Green Jersey twice (1992 and 1995) and has won the King Of The
Mountains competition for the last two years. Laurent has also won a
handful of stages in the Grande Boucle.
His mixture of talents was evident in 1995, when he won 22 times in
a season. The successes included winning the GC, the Mountains and
Points Jersey and five stages in the Tour of Spain, the Milan-
San Remo, the Flèche Wallonne one day race and the Paris-Nice to name
a few. He was the most successful rider of the year. He won Paris
Nice again in 1996 (and also 1997) and again was the most successful
rider of the year. During the Paris-Nice race, Lance Armstrong told
the press " When Jalabert jumps, it is impossible to follow him, I
don't yet have that kind of acceleration." 1997 was another
excellent year, as Jalabert was the World Time Trial Champion. 1998
was not as good as the preceding seasons, but he still added the
Tour du Haut-Var and the Vuelta a Asturias to his palmares list.
Racing as the French road race champion in 1999, the Frenchman
showed that he could still race over three weeks, finishing fourth
in a very mountainous edition of the Giro d'Italia. Success occurred
in the Tour of the Basque Country, the Tour of Romandie and the
Setmana Catalonia. He triumphed in the Setmana Catalonia race again
in the year 2000, where he wore the Yellow Jersey in the Tour de
After he joined CSC in 2001, he began to compete in more French
races, which endeared him more to his home crowd. Whilst riding for
ONCE team, he lost touch with his French followers. During the
year's Tour de France, Jalabert was away in several breakaways, which
helped him to win two stages (one on Bastille Day) and the King of
the Mountains prize, where he joined an elite club of riders who had
won the Green and Polka Dot jerseys in the Tour de France (one of
the other riders is, unsurprisingly, Eddy Merckx).
2002 has been another good year, despite it being Laurent's last
year as a pro. There was success in the TdF, as he retained his King
of the Mountains title, and was very close to winning the opening
prologue of the race in Luxembourg, but Lance Armstrong beat him by
a small margin.
VERDICT: Despite being a capable sprinter, his crash in
1994 in a bunch sprint ruined his confidence. Because of this, he
doesn't participate in group finishes. If he is in a breakaway that
stays away to the finish, you wouldn't bet against him, unless
someone with a better finish is in the group.
Another experienced rider is Richard Virenque. Born in 1969, Richard
was seen as a potential Tour de France winner when he turned pro for
RMO in 1991. It was evident to many that the rider's climbing
abilities were excellent, though he was not the best time trialist.
Virenque did manage to wear the Maillot Jaune in the Tour, but it
was only for one day. 1993 saw a move to one of the top teams in the
Peloton- Festina. It was here the Richard developed and matured, and
he's got the results to prove it. He completed the Tour de France in
1993, finishing in 19th place. The next year he won a stage in the
race, up to the top of Luz-Ardiden. This helped him become King of
the Mountains, a title that he also won in 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1999.
By the end of 1995, he was ranked twelfth in the World. That season
he won two stages in the Critérium du Dauphiné-Libéré (Carpentras,
Vaujany), and a stage in the Tour de France (Cauterets). He came
second in the Grand Prix Midi-Libre and sixth in the World
Over the next two years, "Dickie" performed brilliantly in some of
the hardest races on the European calendar. In 1996, he won a stage
of the Critérium du Dauphiné-Libéré up to the summit of
Mont-Ventoux, 3rd in the Tour de France, 5th in the Olympic Games
and World Championships Road Races, 8th in Liège- Bastogne- Liège.
1997 saw another stage of the Tour de France added to his collection
(and a second place in that race), along with fine displays in some
of the one-day classics.
1998 had started well, until a Festina team doctor was stopped at a
customs checkpoint in France. He was found in possession of
performance enhancing drugs. A week later, at the end of week one in
the Tour de France, the whole of the Festina team were excluded from
the race. At the time, Virenque denied ever taking substances such
as EPO, but he confessed that he did take illegal drugs in 2000,
during a court case. He was banned from racing until midway in 2001.
At the time, he was riding for Team Polti who had signed him in
1999. During his time at the team, he won a stage of the Giro
d'Italia and eight overall in the TdF. When Polti announced their
withdrawal from Cycling at the end of the 2000 season, Virenque was
without a team. He was signed by Domo- Farm Frites in the summer
of 2001, after his suspension had run out.
He soon repaid Patrick Lefevre's faith in him, as he won the 2001
Paris- Tours race in exceptional style. Breaking away early with
well-known escapee Jackie Durand, Richard launched an attack on a
small climb near the finish, which was enough to drop Durand, and
kept him away from the Peloton, who were less than thirty seconds
behind the two at the start of the slight incline. Because of that
win, he was seen as a major threat to win the World Championships
Road Race in Lisbon. Attempts to breakaway weren't successful, but
he did finish inside the top thirty-five after the sprint finish.
This year has passed quite quietly, with Virenque trying to ride
well in the Tour de France. Finishing the race in sixteenth place,
he will be remembered for his stage win up to the summit of the
fearsome Mont Ventoux. With the Paris- Tours race coming soon,
Virenque may add that to his palmares. What he would really like is
to be World Champion.
VERDICT: On a flat course he surely can't win...can't he?? People would have said the same before the Paris- Tours race last
year. You never know in bike racing.
The final team leader is Laurent Brochard, who rode with Virenque for five
years. Brochard (who is currently riding for the Jean Delatour team) turned
pro in 1992 with the Castorama team. It was there that he won races such as
the Regio Tour. After the team's demise at the end of the 1994, he joined
the Festina team. With the team, he became the 1997 World Champion at San
Sebastian, and he won races such as the Tour du Limousin (1996), along with
one stage of Tour de France 1997 (Loudenvielle-Vallée du Louron), four
stages of the Grand Prix du Midi-Libre (Alès 1997, Sète 1997 and 1998,
Millau 1997), two stages of the Tour Méditerranéen (Vitrolles 1992, St
Laurent du Var 1993) and one stage of Circuit de La Sarthe 1994 (La Flèche)
to name a few.
Like Virenque, Laurent was heavily involved in the Doping scandal that hit
the Festina team in the Tour de France in 1998. Despite this, he was able to
find a team to ride for in 1999, after he decided that he needed a new
start. He had a few options- all of them from French teams- and he ended up
choosing the new Jean Delatour team, who were looking for an experienced
team leader: Brochard was what the rider that team wanted, so he was signed.
The 2000 season started off well, as Brochard took the lead in the Paris-
Nice race. He kept the leader's white jersey until the penultamate stage,
the Col d'Eze time trial. He rode to his limit (coming second on the stage),
but lost the jersey to Andreas Kloden, who went on to win the race. Laurent
finish second. He did win a handful of races in 2000: the Route Adélie,
Paris-Bourges, and a time trial in the Critérium International. The first
two wins on the list helped him to finish second in the Coupe de France (a
handful of one day races that award points like the World Cup). He was a
member of the French team for the Olympic Games and the World Championships.
His best win in 2001 was finishing first in the Coupe de France; other wins
included Grand Prix de Villers-Cotterêts, the Paris-Camembert and a stage
in the Circuit de la Sarthe. Like many previous years, he rode in the World
Championships, held in Lisbon.
Brochard has recorded a few success this season, winning the Regio Tour (and
a stage), a stage in the Tour of Poland and a stage in the Midi Libre (Mt St
VERDICT: A wealth of experience, a good all round talent. He has finished
many of the Road Races in the World Championships- including a fine win in
1997- so he could play a part of a flat course, which he seems to like.
Andy Flickinger (AG2R)
Flickinger is one of the team's best domestiques. Measuring nearly two
metres in height, he is able to pull a group along at 40 miles an hour. If a
dangerous group is leading a main pack, and the French decide they want to
do something about the leaders, Andy is one of the men that the team will
look upon. In his four year career, he has ridden for Casino, Festina and
Ag2r, and his best result came last year (whilst at Festina) when he
finished second in the French national championships road race.
VERDICT: A strong rider who is a good team worker. Expect to see him at the
front of the peloton, and, perhaps, in a breakaway group. However, he
doesn’t have the strongest sprint, so his chance of success is rather
Franck Rénier (Bonjour)
Twenty-eight year old Rénier is a very talented rider, and has posted
several strong finishes in some of the hardest one day classics. Wins in
1999 included the Paris-Auxerre and the Grand Prix de la Ville de Morteau
races. The following year he came fifth tenth place in the GP de Plouay,
over the course on which the 2000 World Championships road race took place.
Last year he won the Tour du Finistère. This season, he finished the Tour de
France in 85th place, and came 7th in Paris-Corrèze.
VERDICT: Rather slim, as he’ll probably be riding for the team leaders. A
rider who has good all round abilities, but a strong sprint will most likely
be needed if a rider wants to finish well: Rénier is not known to have a
Cédric Vasseur (Cofidis)
Who will ever forget Vasseur for his ride in the 1997. Breaking away early
into the stage to La Châtre, Vassuer not only stayed in front of the Peloton
and won the stage, but also gained enough time to take the leader's yellow
jersey, which he kept for five days. Always a talented rider, Cédric was
noticed by Gan after his 1993 season, in which he won a stage in the Tour de l’Avenir. In 1996, he won a stage in the Midi- Libre and finished 15th in
the Het Volk, 17th in the Tour des Flanders and 69th in the Tour de France.
1997 was his most successful year, as the rider put in good rides in the
World Championships, the Tour of Spain, the Tour de France and in the Tour
He stayed with the same team for 1998 and 1999 (now Gan were
known as Credit Agricole), but an offer to join the US Postal team for the
2000 season was enough to take him to the American team, who had 1999 Tour
de France winner Lance Armstrong riding for them. One reason for joining the
team were because of promises that he would ride the Tour de France: a
promise that was kept in 2000, when he was part of the team that helped
Armstrong win his second Tour. However, the relationship with team
director-sportif, Johan Bruyneel, turned sour when he was left out of the
squad for the 2001 edition of the three week race. Angry and fed up with the
team, Vassuer looked elsewhere for a ride in the 2002 season. The French
Cofidis took the rider on, and his results have been quite encouraging: he
won the GP d'Isbergues, 6th in the Paris-Bourges, and 55th in the TdF.
VERDICT: Vasseur has never reached the heights of 1997, probably because
he's been a marked man since the long breakaway in the Grande Boucle.
However, depending on his role in the team, he might be seen in a leading
group, and something excellent might happen to the rider who has a high
level unfullfilled ability.
Pierrick Fédrigo (Crédit Agricole)
Pierrick is a rider of huge ability, which was proved by his second place
overall finish in this years Tour de l'Avenir. However, he is more of a
climber than a sprinter, so might not be seen in much of the action come
Sunday. He signed for Roger Legay's Credit Agricole team in late 1999, after
spending time at the small CC Marmadais team. In his two years as a pro, he
has been looked after by many people, and has gradually become a better
rider. This year has been Fédrigo's best, with good showings coming in the
Tour du Limousin and the GP d'Isbergues.
VERDICT: The 22 year old has had a good season, and will be delighted with
his selection into the squad for the Championships. He doesn't think he's
the best sprinter, so don't expect him to beat the big hitters.
Christophe Moreau (Crédit Agricole)
Moreau is a very good rider who can climb and time trial very well, which
were some of the reasons why he was snapped up by the Crédit Agricole team
for this season. His objectives were to finish on the podium in the Tour de
France, but several early crashes (and an incident with Carlos Sastre on the
stage to the Plateau de Beille) destroyed his confidence, and he retired on
Since starting his Professional career with Festina in 1995, Moreau has
promised a lot, and some say he has underachieved. As a young rider, he
finished second in the Tour de L'Avenir, and nearly won the National
Championships Road Race in his first season. All his stage wins in 1996 were
Time Trials, and he represented France in the World Championships in that
discipline. 1997 was a good year, one of Moreau's best, as he rode
brilliantly in European races such as the Paris-Nice, the Tour
Méditerranéen, the Dauphiné Libéré and the Tour de France, where he finished
in nineteenth in only his second ride in the race.
Like some of the other riders in the team, he was part of the 1998 Doping
scandal. Riding for Festina, Christophe was excluded from the race on stage
seven. Like Laurent Brochard, Moreau stayed with the team for 1999 and rode
the TdF despite the problems of the previous year, and came twenty- seventh
overall. His wins in the season were a stage in the Route du Sud and the
Poitou Charente (along with first overall in the second aforementioned race).
Moreau worked very hard in the winter of 2000 in an attempt to compete and
be successful in three week tours- something that many said he was capable
of. Being a tall rider, he lost a lot of time in the Mountains, so trained a
lot at altitude. In the Tour de France, he limited his losses on the tough
Pyrenean and Alps stages, and he finished the three week race in fourth
place, only a few seconds behind his team-mate Joesba Beloki. Part of his
fourth place were strong showings in the Time Trials. Christophe's only win
this year was a stage in the Poitou Charente.
Both rider and team set their sights high for the 2001 campaign, hoping that
the Frenchman would finish on the podium of the Tour. Preparations went
well, as he won the Dauphiné Libéré, which takes place a month before the
Tour. In the Tour's prologue, a course in Dunkirk, Moreau set an excellent
time which no-one managed to beat. He was to wear the yellow jersey for the
first time in his career. He kept it until stage two, when the stage
finished in Belgium. He was riding reasonably well in the first mountain
stages in the Alps, but he was forced to retire on the first Pyrenean
stage, a victim of illness. His season did finish well, as he won the GP
Breitling Time Trial with team-mate Florent Brard.
He swapped teams for 2002, joining Crédit Agricole. His only win has been a
stage in the Four Days of Dunkerque. He had a dreadful time in the Tour de
France, losing a lot of time due to crashes.
Moreau will ride the Time Trial and the Road Race
VERDICT: Described by many as a "dangerous rider," Moreau might have already
seen his best years. Not selected as a team leader, so will have to work
hard for Jalabert, Virenque and Brochard in the Road Race, but is confident
of a medal in the Time Trial.
Nicolas Jalabert (CSC Tiscali)
Nicolas has always been in the shadow of his older brother, and has only a
handful of races. He turned professional in 1995 with the small French team
Mutuelle De Seine Et Marne, and he won his first race in 1995: the Mi-Août
Bretonne. In 1996, he won the Grand Prix de Rennes and a stage in the Tour
de L’Avenir (Parthenay). Snapped up by the Cofidis squad in 1997, he
repeated his win in the GP de Rennes. His best win was taking the Coupe de
France, helped with wins in the Route Adélie and the Grand Prix de Rennes. He
was signed by ONCE to ride alongside brother Laurent in 2000.
After his year at the Spanish team, he left (with Laurent) to join the CSC
World Online team (which were renamed CSC Tiscali before the TDF). His best
results with the team have come this year, when Nicolas finished 21st in the
Tour of Flanders and second in the French National Championships.
VERDICT: Will always be remembered for being the brother to Laurent, Nicolas
will have to start winning races if he wants to stay at a Division One team
for next season.
Jimmy Casper (FDJeux.com)
A professional since 1998, Jimmy Casper has proved that he is a good
sprinter, but many believe that he hasn't reached his full potential. Born
in 1978, Casper rode just one season (1997) in the amatuer ranks (for Vélo
Club St Quentin), winning the Junior Loire Atlantique and a stage in the 2
days of Machecoule. He also finished 22ne in the Junior World Championships
Road Race at San Sebastien. After turning pro with
La Française des Jeux in 1998, he had to wait until his second season with
the French team before taking his first win, which was a stage in the Four
days of Dunkerque. By June he was showing some of the World's best sprinters
how to finish by winning four stages in the Tour of Germany- beating Eric
Zabel in each of those stages, which he describes as the best thing he has
ever done on the bike.
Casper was picked in the team to ride the Tour de
France, which was perhaps a bad decision by Marc Madiot, the FDJ Director
Sportif. He finished fifth on stage two, but retired on stage nine.
2000 was a quiet season, 2001 was a bit more eventful, as he won stages in
the Tour Méditerranéen, Circuit des Mines, Route du Sud and the Tour du
Poitou-Charentes. He also finished third on a stage in the Tour de France,
and also completed the three week race for the first time in 144th position.
This season he has won the GP de Cholet-Pays-de-Loire.
VERDICT: A strong sprinter who has proved he can match the best, but has yet
to win anything big. Perhaps this will be his best chance to take the
Jacky Durand (FDJeux.com)
Like Christophe Moreau, Durand will be riding both the Time Trial and the
His pro career started in 1990, when Castorama signed him after eight
successful seasons with the CC Renazé - Antony Berny amateur team. In only
his second season as a pro he won the Grand Prix d'Isbergues, which is one
of the most important one-day races in France. He won the Tour of Flanders,
which is one of the hardest races in the World, in 1992, after a solo
breakaway which lasted for over 200 kilometers (which Jackie thinks is his
best ride of his life). Becoming the champion of France in 1993 made the
French adore him even more, and he became a national hero in 1994 after he
won National Jersey for the second time in two seasons and a stage in the
Tour de France (Bergerac-Cahors).
In wet conditions, DuDu (as he is known by the French) won the 1995 Tour de
France prologue, thus taking the leader's yellow jersey, which he wore for
the opening two stages. In the same year he won a stage in the Midi- Libre.
Castorama left the peloton at the end of the season, so Durand moved to the
French Agrigel team. Durand didn't win anything, and was also found positive
in a drug test. He served a suspension, and joined the Casino team in 1997,
where the happier times started again.
1998 was one of, if not, Durand's best year as a pro rider. He won a stage
of the Tour de France into Montauban and the Paris- Tours World Cup race. He
also won a stage of the Tour de Pologne and finished second overall, and
finished the World Championships Road Race in Valkenburg in sixteenth place.
For the 1999 and 2000 season, Jackie rode for the Lotto team. In 1999 he won
a stage in the Paris-Nice and the Combativity award in the Tour de France.
He also wore the Maillot amarillo in the Vuelta a Espana for two stages. He
nearly became French national champion for the third time in 2000, but ended
up coming second. He did win the Tro bro Léon, the Mountains jersey in the
Four days of Dunkerque and wore the equivalent jersey in the Tour de France
for a stage.
For the last two seasons, Durand has ridden for La Française des Jeux team,
which were renamed FDJeux.com for this season. His best result this season
was a second place in the Tour de Picardie. He was disqualified from the TdF
for holding onto a team car, which was a shame as the race needed someone
like him to liven the stages.
VERDICT: Breakaway King, expect to see him in a leading group at some stage
during the race. In the Time Trial, he'll do his best, which will probably
seen him finish in the top twenty.
Nicolas Vogondy (Fdjeux.com)
Along with team-mate Sandy Casar, Vogondy has to be the best French rider
for the future. He became an amateur at the VC St. Aignan team when he was
ten, and in 1996 he finished ninth in both the World's Time Trial and Road
He turned professional in 1997 with the La Française des Jeux, and the team
have looked after him brilliantly ever since, making sure that he was not
overraced in his younger years as a pro. His first ever pro win came in his
debut season, as he won the Tour de Normandie. He also finished fifth in the
Tour de l’Avenir.
The next three seasons were all part of the learning process, but, in 1998,
he finished twenty- second in the French Championships Road Race. In 2001,
he started to progress and began to pick up results in some of the
prestigious French races. He came second on a stage in the Circuit de la
Sarthe, 4th in the French Championship (on the road) and 5th in the
At the start of this season, Marc Madiot told L'Equipe that this was the
season in which Vogondy would make his name. Seven months on, he was right,
as Vogondy has had an exceptional season. The start of the success was in
June, as Nicolas finally won the French National Champion jersey. He also
placed well in the Classique des Alpes and the Dauphiné Libéré. By the end of
July, Vogondy had become well know around the World after finishing his
second Tour de France in nineteenth place, just over half and hour down on
the race winner Lance Armstrong. On the tough stage up to the summit of the
Mont Ventoux, he only lost six minutes to Armstrong, who was in sensational
form that day, and finished just 8'37 down on stage winner Richard Virenque.
The French now have high hopes for him, and he might want to repay the faith
shown in him by many people by posting a good ride in the Road Race on
VERDICT: One for the future, Vogondy has shown he can be National champion,
so he has the potential to become World Champion one day. This year?? I
don't think so, the course doesn't suit him as well as it suits others.
Also, he's not one of the team leaders. But that didn't stop Oscar Freire in
Men's Time Trial
Jacky Durand and Christophe Moreau are competing in the Time Trial and the
Road Race. Their profiles are in the Road Race Team Riders section.