The La Francaise des Jeux team has been in the international peloton since 1997. Back in the day, riders such as Davide Rebellin and Chris Horner were the prize-winners. Today, it is mainly the new generation of French riders who are at the forefront for new team Groupama–FDJ. Below are the most important riders for the team in 2019.

Key riders at Groupama–FDJ: Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot’s career is literally one of peaks and troughs. He’s always been good going uphill, but he used to lose valuable seconds (minutes) when it came to going down again. He had a particularly bad year in 2013, and was open enough to admit he struggled with fear on the descents. He has since had a lot of coaching on this aspect of his riding and he seems to be fine riding downhill nowadays. In recent years, he has been in the fight for the general classifications in the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta à España. In 2018 he won his first monument: the Tour of Lombardy. He also performed well in the general classification of the Giro (he was in 3rd place until the penultimate day), and he finished 6th in the Vuelta. Time trials remain his achilles heel, and thanks to the low number of time trial kilometres in 2019, it’s logical he wants to shine in the Tour de France this year.

Thibaut Pinot winning the Tour of Lombardy in 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Arnaud Demare

This guy is Groupama–FDJ’s sprinting powerhouse. He won a stage in the Tour de France in both 2017 and 2018. His most important victory was in 2016 when he won Milan–San Remo. Demare is at his best in smaller French stage races as well as several of the Spring Classics. In 2019, he will ride both the Giro and the Tour and he is a key rider in the team’s battles for stage victories.

Arnaud Demare winning a stage in the Tour de France. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Ramon Sinkeldam

Ramon Sinkeldam won his most significant victory when he was riding for Team Sunweb in 2017, when he became Dutch national champion. This was a special moment for a guy who mainly rides support for other sprinters. The year after his victory he moved to Groupama–FDJ to head up the sprint lead-out for Arnaud Demare. This resulted in a few victories for himself, but he won a well-earned 3rd place at the Dutch national championships. We will likely see Sinkeldam in action at the same races in which Demare is aiming to do well.

Ramon Sinkeldam riding Paris–Roubaix 2018 in the Dutch national champion’s jersey. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Sebastien Reichenbach

Sebastien Reichenbach is an important right-hand-man for Pinot. He regularly helped Pinot when the going got tough on numerous occasions during the Giro d’Italia 2018, but that means there is therefore little room for him to go for his own successes. He did win the 2013 Trofeo Matteotti, but that’s his only victory to date. He has booked a couple of decent general classifications, though, while riding as Pinot’s wing man: 14th in the Tour de France in 2016 and 15th in the Giro in 2017. He is once again Pinot’s main support rider in the Tour this year.

Reichenbach is rarely in action for the victory. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Anthony Roux

The final name on this list is the current French national road racing champion Anthony Roux. While wearing his national champion’s shirt he was 3rd in the La Clásica de San Sebastián in 2018. He has also won a stage in the Vuelta and in 2016 he won the Grand Prix de Quebec. He’s in action during a lot of the hilly classics and will also ride both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France in 2019.

Anthony Roux battled for 3rd place in the Classica San Sebastian 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos.

See also: