Pinot confirmed for final Tour de France as Démare left out of Groupama-FDJ team

Marc Madiot flanked by Arnaud Demare and Thibaut Pinot ahead of the 2017 Tour de France
Marc Madiot flanked by Arnaud Demare and Thibaut Pinot ahead of the 2017 Tour de France (Image credit: Getty)

Thibaut Pinot has been included in the Groupama-FDJ team for the Tour de France in his final season as a professional, but there is no place in the line-up for Arnaud Démare.

Manager Marc Madiot announced the first five names on his team sheet on Tuesday afternoon, when he also confirmed that sprinter Arnaud Démare would miss out on selection for the second successive year.

David Gaudu, fourth overall a year ago, will lead the team’s general classification challenge, while Pinot will make his tenth and final Tour appearance with the aim of chasing stage wins. Valentin Madouas, Kevin Geniets and Stefan Küng have also had their Tour selection confirmed, with the last three riders to be announced closer to the Grand Départ.

"Our team will be focusing on the mountains," Madiot said in a statement from Groupama-FDJ on Tuesday.

"The objective is, of course, the general classification with David Gaudu. We'll also allow ourselves to go on the offensive with Thibaut Pinot, Valentin Madouas and Stefan Küng." 

Démare had been pencilled in for possible Tour selection since last winter, although Gaudu had voiced his opposition to the idea in an online chatroom conversation that was leaked into the public domain in January.

"He knows I don't want him at the Tour, I've already told him," Gaudu said before issuing an apology on social media.

Speaking to L’Équipe from the Tour de Suisse, Démare said that Madiot had informed him of his omission from the Tour squad last Thursday. The Frenchman also revealed that he would leave Groupama-FDJ when his contract expires at year's end, having been deemed surplus to requirements.

"This was the second hard blow," Démare said. "At the Boucles de la Mayenne, [Madiot] announced that it was the end with the Groupama. Not in so many words, but I understood that it was all over. He told me: 'We can't keep you.' And that's it."

Démare expressed frustration at missing out on the Tour after spending much of the season building towards the race.

"I'm angry and disheartened because I worked for this, and I made concessions this winter knowing that I would only have one teammate with me for the sprints," said Démare.

"It wasn't a contest between Thibaut and me for a place. The three of us [with Gaudu] could have done a good job together."

Démare is currently in action at the Tour de Suisse, where he placed second behind Biniam Girmay in the bunch sprint on stage 2. The 31-year-old has made five Tour appearances in his career, winning two stages.

"It was a difficult selection to make, especially the decision not to select Arnaud Démare. I can understand his disappointment," Madiot said. "I have affinities with the riders, but the interests of the team have to come first. It's a sporting choice. I'm here to decide which team I think is the most competitive. There are strengths and weaknesses. I take responsibility for those choices."

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.