#Tranquil #Motivated #Ready
We are excited to announce today Andrea Pasqualon as our man inside the Tour de France peloton this July. The Wanty-Groupe Gobert sprinter currently leads the UCI Europe Tour rankings with his team once again heading the Team Classement. Many eyes have been on Pasqua following his superb performances throughout the first half of the year already.
As in previous editions of The Tour, we will bring a daily update with a three-word summary and a photo from inside the race. Today we explored the atmosphere inside the team hotel following the presentation of the riders to the public at the ASO Team Presentation event last night as the 176 contenders of the 105th Tour de France were introduced to the crowd on the Napoleon square of La Roche-sur-Yon.
Huge crowds at La Roche-sur-Yon
Pasqua tells us it's pretty relaxed today, everyone is calm and the team feel ready to go tomorrow. So what can we expect from Pasqua and his mates from this race? First a look at the line-up:
Team Wanty-Group Gobert centre stage
Veteran Team Manager and Directeur Sportif Hilaire van der Schueren is joined by right-hand man and former Six Day track specialist Steven de Neef, both Belgians.
Perhaps surprisingly the Belgian-based outfit only start with three natives of that country, #212 Thomas Degand, #213 Timothy Dupont and #218 Guillaume van Keirsbulck. The team is led by emerging French Climber #211 Guillaume Martin who will be carefully guarded by #214 Marco Minnaard of Netherlands. Watch out for Martin in the high mountains as he's sure to be within striking distance of the big favourites. A second Frenchman, #215 Yoann Offredo might be a man to watch for the long breakaways, he certainly has the racecraft to sneak up the road and stay away. #217 Dion Smith of New Zealand shares a room with our man #216 Andrea Pasqualon.
As the team's designated fastman we will be looking out for Pasqua especially during the first week of relatively flat stages. But not the absolute flattest parcours he tells me, at just 69 kg he will be controlling the group as road captain and looking for a strong finish especially on stages 5 and 6:
"I am a not strong sprinter like Kittel, but when the bigger sprinters are dropped for sure I will stay in front. I want to win a stage because I'm sure I have the legs for that."
Here's how Pasqua describes how he sees the team performing:
"For sure the ambition for this race is to sneak some good results on the flat stages with me and maybe Timothy. But the longer goal is to achieve at least top 20 GC for Martin".
Here's what the UCI have to say about Pasqua's early season form:
Italy's Andrea Pasqualon has had an extremely strong opening half to the 2018 season, moving into the lead of the UCI Europe Tour at the end of June. His latest victory came at the beginning of June, when he took the overall classification at the UCI 2.HC Skoda-Tour of Luxembourg, winning two stages as well as the Points Jersey. Prior to that, he won the UCI 1.1 GP de Plumelec-Morbihan, was fourth at the UCI 1.UWT Eschborn-Frankfurt and fourth at the UCI 1.HC GP de Denain-Porte du Hainaut. Other notable results include winning the UCI 1.1 Coppa Sabatini-Gran Premio citta di Peccioli (2017) and finishing second at the UCI 1.HC GP du canton d'Argovie (2016).
We wish Pasqua and all his teammates a successful Tour de France and look forward to following with adventures every day of the race. Check back daily through the next three weeks to see how Pasqua copes at the biggest race in the world. Forza Pasqua!