Please visit the team site here.
UCI ranked 18th.
Absolutely no surprise when the “Baker Boys” received a “wild card” place in the Tour de France. Starting the season in 27th place a series of battling performances and good results has seen the small French team with a “clean” reputation rise like yeast through the rankings to 18th place.
Although the team is unlikely to challenge for overall honours, expect to see them with a rider in every break, and fighting for TV exposure and for stage victories.
Sadly, the team enters the race under the shadow of tragedy. The tragic death of Fabrice Salanson was a double blow to the team. Not only did they have to cope with the human tragedy of a young man's death, they also faced a barrage of insensitive, unwarranted, evil speculation by the world's press.
Emmanuel Magnien summed up the riders feelings when he said - “It has been terrible. I think this has been worse than if Fabrice had been killed in a accident racing or something. Crashes are terrible, sure, but we all know they are one of the hazards of our job. But to die in your sleep like that? It just leaves such a void."
While the press started dopage rumours - Lance Armstrong spoke out in defence of the rider -
"My reaction was okay, here we go again. I knew that the initial commentary or rumoring would be regarding drugs. That's the time that we live in. To me it's a little bit disgusting. Imagine the mother. She's just lost a son. It might be her only son. And she's got to open up the paper and the first paragraph it talks about EPO. It talks about drugs. How does she feel about that?"
Nevertheless the team will be determined to honour Fabrice Salanson’s memory in the best way they can with aggressive bike riding and hopefully a victory or two!
At 33 Didier Rous is having an Autumn summer; winner of the Trophée des Grimpeurs and the French Road Race Champion, it is certain that Rous will put up of a fight but whether that is enough to make an impression remains in doubt.
Didier Rous recent French cycling road championship victory was of course dedicated to his team mate Fabrice Salanson.
"He was shattered in the last lap but Fabrice rode for him," said Brioches La Boulangere team chief Jean-Rene Bernaudeau of his rider's victory.
Rous, champion in 2001, broke away on his own 80 kms from the finish of the 222.4-km race held in Brittany to win with a 33-second lead over Richard Virenque while Patrice Halgand was third, 58 seconds behind.
"I did it for Fabrice. I was burnt out but I resisted for him," said Rous, who pointed to the sky as he crossed the line.
The former great French hope may no longer have the legs to challenge the GC but will be battling hard for a stage win.
Thomas Voeckler won the overall of the Tour de Luxembourg and two stages and also had a great win in the 1er de la Classic Loire-Atlantique. A strong rider who will turn stage hunter for this race.
Sylvain Chavanel finished 36th last year and has had an impressive season so far winning the Tour du Haut Var and the ITT over 8.8 kilometres of the Circuit Cycliste Sarthe et Pays de la Loire 2003.
”Mimo” is a great young prospect and much is expected from him. He can sprint, time trial and climb and will be expected to contend for the white jersey young rider competition.
His results this year have been impressive and he will get plenty of support from the roadside fans.
1st Tour du Haut-Var
1st ITT Circuit de la Sarthe à Angers
2nd A travers le Morbihan
3rd Tour Méditerranéen
5th Critérium International
5th Circuit de la Sarthe – Pays de la Loire
Four victories already this season was enough for sprinter Damien Nazon to be selected. He was once third in the Green jersey competition and will have ambitions in that competition this year.
Anthony Geslin, Maryan Hary, Jérôme Pineau are all young guns who have ridden with true Baker boy style all season, while Walter Bénéteau and Franck Rénier are experiance pros to help balance the team.
Didier Rous (Fra)
Sylvain Chavanel (Fra)
Walter Bénéteau (Fra)
Franck Renier (Fra)
Damien Nazon (Fra)
Thomas Voeckler (Fra)
Anthony Geslin (Fra)
Maryan Hary (Fra)
Jérôme Pineau (Fra)
Substitute: Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra).
Directeur sportif: Jean-René Bernaudeau.