Tour de France 2016: full team-by-team guide

Introducing this years teams: the leaders, the heritage and the the names to watch out for

AG2R La Mondiale (France; UCI team ranking 11)

The home nations oldest pro team, not quite a relic like Johnny Hallyday but in an age when sponsors come and go theres a certain charm to this squad. Once they were destined to chase stage wins and days out in the attacks but for the past couple of years theyve got involved in the GC battles too. They hide until the mountains come and then well see the 80s graphics and brown shorts to the fore.

Founded 1992 Bicycles Focus Manager Vincent Lavenu

Tours de France 22 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 16

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 16

Name means An amalgamation of two different financial firms: AG2R and La Mondiale.

Tour heritage The oldest French team, whose refusal to ditch their hideous shorts in the face of relentless public scorn is heroic.

Team leader: Romain Bardet (Fr): Likes to animate the race and no doubt thats what well get: a stage win or perhaps the climbers jersey is a minimum requirement, if not for personal reasons but also to keep rival Thibaut Pinots ego in check.

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AG2R leader Romain Bardet likes to animate the race. Photograph: Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

Astana Pro Team (Kazakhstan; UCI team ranking 5)

The azure blue assassins that everyone loves to hate thanks to the manager Alexander Vinokourovs tactics and past. Theyve proved they know how to win Grand Tours but outside Italy they are as popular as mould on your favourite cheese and they hardly care either: theres a whiff of foreign legion meets whatever it takes about the whole setup. Being kinder, they do stick to their plan A and their chosen leader come what may, which shows some compassion, and when they take control its impressive. They still eat horses though.

Founded 2007 Bicycles Specialised Team manager Alexander Vinokourov

Tours de France 15 Tour wins 2 (Contador 2009; Nibali 2014) Stage victories 9

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 32

Name means The capital of the country, Kazakhstan, from which the team hails, although it is named after a coalition of state-owned companies.

Tour heritage Successful but constantly shrouded by accusations of skulduggery. Theyve had doping scandals and won two Tours and been stripped of another.

Team leader: Fabio Aru (It): May have won the 2015 Vuelta but still lacks a bit of strength to take it to the level of Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana. One thing is certain he will go down attacking.

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Fabio Aru: still lacks a bit of strength. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

BMC (United States; UCI team ranking 6)

Promises, promises and proof that money isnt everything. They have some of the best riders, bikes and kit but one element is missing: winning. As with the big four in the Premier League, you expect more and when they fall apart at crunch times youre left wondering why. The arrival of Richie Porte from lieutenant duties at Sky bolsters options for the mountains and ought to be the support Tejay van Garderen needs.

Founded 2007 Bicycles BMC Team manager Jim Ochowicz

Tours de France 6 Tour wins 1 Stage victories 4

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 4

Name means An acronym of Bicycle Manufacturing Company, a Swiss firm.

Tour heritage Nicknamed Big Money Company by others envious of their wealth, BMCs finest hour was Cadel Evans victory in 2011.

Team leader: Tejay van Garderen (US): The likable American starts as team leader but Porte can take over if he falters, so who really is No1? Under pressure before they have even started.

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Tejay van Garderen: under pressure already. Photograph: Gian Ehrenzeller/EPA

BoraArgon 18 (Germany; UCI team ranking N/A wildcard)

The well presented pro-continental German team start only their fifth Grand Tour so theres not masses of experience but they compensate with enthusiasm. Their goal is the development of young talent over time. There are some riders you may vaguely have heard of such as Sam Bennett and Paul Voss but everyone is relatively unknown, such as Emanuel Buchmann who was third on last years Tour queen stage to Cauterets.

Founded 2010 Bicycles Argon 18 Team manager Ralph Denk

Tours de France 1 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 0

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 0

Name means Bora are the go-to guys for all your kitchen cooking surface and extractor needs, while Argon 18 make bikes in Canada.

Tour heritage Finished 20th of 22 teams in their only Tour so far, with Jan Barta finishing 25th on general classification.

Team leader: Sam Bennett (Ire). Emanuel Buchmann can climb but Bennett will be the main hope for results when its a messy sprint.

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Sam Bennett: the big hope in a messy sprint. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Cannondale (United States; UCI team ranking 16)

Have they lost their way? Once among the most innovative, friendly and fashionable teams, they seem to be missing their mojo and wont be lamenting the absence of what used to be their raison detre, the team time trial, because nowadays theyre awful at it. Big sprinter? Nope. Great climber? Nope. Guy who can spring from the break? Nope. Dan Martin has moved on so your guess is as good as mine as to what happens next. Maybe Jonathan Vaughters will bring back argyle colours and all will be good again.

Founded 2003 Bicycles Cannondale Team manager Jonathan Vaughters

Tours de France 11 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 3

Green jerseys 4 (Sagan 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 0

Name means From a manufacturer that claims to make cyclings most kick-ass, cutting-edge frames.

Tour heritage Theyve won four successive green jerseys since 2012 courtesy of Peter Sagan, who has now left for pastures new.

Team leader: Andrew Talansky (US): Will survive the first big selection on most tough days, but he rarely makes the one that comes after that.

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Andrew Talansky: will survive the first big selection on most tough days Photograph: Alexandra Wey/AP

Cofidis Solutions Crdits (France; UCI team ranking N/A wildcard)

Once upon a time the boys in red were at the top level but that was oh so long ago. Years of consistent inconsistency from management and riders see them now operating at a more modest pace. Thats not to say theyll go unnoticed because in their midst sits one Nacer Bouhanni, who brings an aggression and controversy to the art of sprinting rarely seen in these days of PR and media control.

Founded 1997 Bicycles Orbea Team manager Yvon Sanquer

Tours de France 19 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 10

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 1 (Rinero 1998) Days in yellow 4

Name means Does exactly what it says on the tin: loaning money to help provide solutions to credit issues.

Tour heritage Considering this is their 19th consecutive Tour de France, they should probably have achieved an awful lot more.

Team leader: Nacer Bouhanni (Fr): No one for GC so its make the breaks and get the colours out there but first of all try to keep Bouhanni from losing the final fight. Dont poke him though, hes the only cyclist who can really punch.

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Nacer Bouhanni: dont poke him. Photograph: Quique Garcia/EPA

Dimension Data (South Africa; UCI team ranking N/A wildcard)

A giant step up for the Qhubeka organisation. Last year they enjoyed success with Daniel Teklehaimanot and Steve Cummings but with the arrival of World Tour status and the Mark Cavendish show, the budget is bigger and the expectations and pressures are much higher. This time around the African climbers will have to survive on their own, as the emphasis will be on ensuring the Manxman has the best chance of adding to his 26 stage wins. High standards have been set and if he wins only once the speculators will be telling us its all over and all he cares about is getting an Olympic medal before hes too old. He wont finish this Tour but dont think hes on holiday.

Founded 2007 Bicycles Trek Bicycle Corporation Team manager Brian Smith

Tours de France 1 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 1

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 0

Name means A global company specialising in Information Technology services. The word solutions features prominently on their website.

Tour heritage The first African registered team to contest the Tour won their first ever stage on Mandela Day last summer.

Team leader: Mark Cavendish (GB): Dismiss him at your peril: the 31-year-old didnt get to be the greatest Tour sprinter by listening to your opinions or anyone elses.

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Mark Cavendish: dismiss him at your peril. Photograph: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Direct nergie (France; UCI team ranking N/A wildcard)

The Tommy Voeckler club changes colours but otherwise its the same charming face-making and gurning. Winning the Tour de Yorkshire shows the old timer still knows how to race but any Grand Tour pretensions have faded away. Hell lose an hour then have a single do or die escape and if the others arent careful he will mug them; whatever happens the home public will love him. The other riders are guaranteed to be in every break on every terrain and go down fighting so theres a bit of an energetic theme here.

Founded 2000 Bicycles BH Team manager Jean-Ren Bernaudeau

Tours de France 16 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 9

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 2 (Charteau 2010, Voeckler 2012) Days in yellow 23

Name means Best known for their previous incarnation as Europcar, Direct nergie are French providers of electricity and natural gas.

Tour heritage Have enjoyed more than three weeks in yellow combined and is the long-time home of cult hero and former king of the mountains Thomas Voeckler.

Team leader: Thomas Voeckler (Fr): Voeckler is still top but in the young sprinter Bryan Coquard the replacement for Tommys facepulling has already been found. Enjoy the show.

Thomas
Thomas Voeckler climbs in the French Alps during the first stage of the 2016 Dauphine Criterium. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Etixx-Quick-Step (Belgium; UCI team ranking No4)

The best lead-out train in the business bar none promises to put Marcel Kittel in the hot seat for the first yellow jersey of the Tour. No pressure, then, but they are used to it, especially after a winless Classics campaign that will have had Patrick Lefevere spitting feathers like never before. Swearing in Flemish has a poetry all of its own and itll be extra blue if they dont top and tail the race. Anything else between Utah Beach and the Champs lyses will be a bonus.

Founded 2003 Bicycles Specialised Team manager Patrick Lefevere

Tours de France 13 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 27

Green jerseys 1 (Boonen 2007) Kings of the Mountains 2 (Virenque 2003, 2004) Days in yellow 10

Name means The artists formerly known as Omega Pharma-Quick Step are now sponsored by a sports nutrition company and a laminate flooring manufacturer.

Tour heritage Have won polka dot and green, and more recently worn yellow while Mark Cavendish helped add to their tally of stage wins.

Team leader: Marcel Kittel (Ger): The sprinter of the moment. Big, strong, chiselled, and thats just his hair. He may struggle to get over a railway bridge but what goes up must come down and he does that impressively fast.

Marcel

Marcel Kittel: the sprinter of the moment.
Photograph: Bas Czerwinski/AFP/Getty Images

FDJ (France; UCI team ranking 15)

Place your bets as to which step of the podium is team leader Thibaut Pinots final position. Any one of them will have the manager, Marc Madiot, apopletically happy and an adoring public posting offers of marriage and much much more. There might even be a YouTube video or two of grown men crying on to strings of onions. Unashamedly French and proud of it, FDJ were in the doldrums for far too long but its their time for some limelight and although therell be hiccups and tantrums theyll enjoy every moment.

Founded 1997 Bicycles Lapierre Team manager Marc Madiot

Tours de France 19 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 10

Green jerseys 1 (Cooke 2003) Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 3

Name means Franaise des Jeux translates as French Games; one of several Tour teams sponsored by a national lottery.

Tour heritage Almost certainly a source of home disappointment, with only one stage win in their past three Tours.

Team leader: Thibaut Pinot (Fr): Pinot has modelled himself on the Bradley Wiggins formula: hard work, steady progression and a swarthy beard. DArtagnan in lycra.

Thibaut

Thibaut Pinot: hard work and a swarthy beard. Photograph: Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Images

FortuneoVital Concept (France; UCI team ranking N/A wildcard)

The Tour might not be going into Brittany but tradition demands some kind of French cycling heartland participation, hence the inclusion of Fortuneo-Vital Concept. I was going to be cruel but there isnt much point: we know they are in the race because Tour organiser ASO looks after the home scene just as the men who run the Giro and Vuelta do. Theres no shame involved. The team is there to animate the less challenging days, no more no less. If they win enough prize money to pay for the after-Tour party theyll be happy.

Founded 2005 Bicycles Look Team manager Emmanuel Hubert

Tours de France 2 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 0

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 0

Name means A team famously proud of their Brittany roots are sponsored by a bank and a local agricultural goods firm.

Tour heritage Received wildcard entries to the past two Tours under the Bretagne-Sch banner and have been invited to participate again this year.

Team leader: Pierrick Fdrigo (Fr): Well, it might be Fdrigo or Anthony Delaplace or it might just be done alphabetically. Come on, give them a break. Theyve got three weeks of suffering ahead.

Pierrick

Pierrick Fedrigo, and a fan, during the 2015 Tour. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Giant-Alpecin (Germany; UCI team ranking 10)

Its been a torrid year for the German team, with several of them wiped out by an errant driver pre-season and since then theyve been playing catch-up. Its not easy coming back from serious injury but one thing it does do is give renewed focus and an appreciation for what you are doing. Mentally fresh, physically rehabilitated, they may well be the surprise that no one expected. Warren Barguil is typical of the new generation of hopeful Frenchmen: always willing to upset the apple cart in the mountains, he rode through last years Tour with a broken bone in his leg. If Tom Dumoulin starts then they will definitely influence the race.

Founded 2005 Bicycles Giant Team manager Iwan Spekenbrink

Tours de France 5 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 9

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 2

Name means Giant manufactures bicycles in Taiwan, while Alpecin deals in shampoo and hair care.

Tour heritage Their nine stage wins and two days in yellow are largely down to the efforts of the thunder-thighed sprinter Marcel Kittel.

Team leader: John Degenkolb (Ger): Unable to defend his Paris-Roubaix title, the German team sprinter Degenkolb and his moustache will be back. OK Arnie is Austrian, but its close enough.

John

John Degenkolb (complete with moustache and straggly beard) looks forward to the start of stage one of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California. Photograph: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

IAM (Switzerland; UCI team ranking 17)

Think Switzerland, reliability, watches, trains on time and a solid currency. None of that is exciting unless youre an accountant and so its no surprise the IAM cycling project now in its last few months hasnt exactly been spectacular. You cant fault the presentation and they have some solid riders but its all a bit boring and bland.

Founded 2013 Bicycles Scott Sports Team manager Michel Thtaz

Tours de France 2 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 0

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 0

Name means From IAM Independent Asset Management SA, a Swiss investment company, hence the slightly more catchy team name.

Tour heritage Cynics might say their founder membership of the Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crdible accounts for their lack of success in the race.

Team leader: Jrme Coppel (Fr): He might once have been touted as a possible next big thing for French cycling but you get the feeling he didnt get the memo himself.

Jrme

Jrme Coppel: used to be the next big thing. Photograph: Sylvain Thomas/AFP/Getty Images

Katusha (Russia; UCI team ranking 2)

No workers revolution here, its all very traditional and ordered. The sprinters do the sprinting, the climbers do the climbing and everyone else does as they are told. When the designated top men dont quite meet expectations, that means getting in the breaks and grinding down their compatriots du jour. It all looks solid and worthy until Purito Rodrguez fails to scale the highest mountains and Kittel and Cavendish look back to see where Alexander Kristoff ended up in the sprint. After which the morning team meeting becomes more colourful and unknown Russians save the day.

Founded 2009 Bicycles Canyon Team manager Viatcheslav Ekimov

Tours de France 7 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 6

Green jerseys 0 Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 0

Name means Diminutive of the Russian name Ekatarina, the English equivalent would be Team Katie or Kathy.

Tour heritage Two stage wins in their first four Tours was a poor return, but theyve trebled that since.

Team leader: Alexander Kristoff (Nor): Big, strong and fast but not always as consistently big, strong or fast as his peers. Like a Steven Seagal film, not quite the full entertainment package.

Alexander

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figcaption class=”caption” caption–img caption caption–img” itemprop=”description”> Alexander Kristoff: big, strong and fast. Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Lampre-Merida (Italy; UCI team ranking 12)

Every year I wonder why this Italian squad turn up for the Tour with no clear ambitions. They rarely bother to bring their best riders so the sprint stages pass by and the GC has registered little but disappointment. However, they always win a stage and go away happy leaving the pundits with egg on faces. I see no reason why that wont continue, although with the arrival of Louis Meintjes their focus will change to realistically being involved in the fight for the white jersey of best young rider.

Founded 1991 Bicycles Merida Team manager Giuseppe Saronni

Tours de France 18 Tour wins 0 Stage victories 13

Green jerseys 2 (Abdoujaparov 1993; Petacchi 2010) Kings of the Mountains 0 Days in yellow 2

Name means Lampre is an Italian manufacturer of prefinished steel sheet materials, no less, while Merida makes bicycles in Taiwan.

Tour heritage They tend to focus on the Giro, but theyre good for a stage win per Tour far more often than not.

Team leader: Louis Meintjes (SA): He has the talent but needs care and attention otherwise finds himself out of position; he cant afford to do that here so his Italian minders might have more work than usual.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jun/29/tour-de-france-2016-team-by-team-guide

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