In July 2018 Wanty-Groupe Gobert will be participating in Tour de France for the second time in the team's history. On Monday our team was awarded one of the four precious wildcards by Tour organisation ASO. Thus the team can send eight of their riders to the Grand Départ of the 105th edition of Le Tour in Vendée on Saturday July 7. Also in Criterium du Dauphiné our team will be at the start.
In the 2017 summer Wanty-Groupe Gobert participated for the first time in La Grande Boucle. The nine Tour debutants showed an offensive spirit by slipping into a significant number of breakaways. Because of that Yoann Offredo and Guillaume Van Keirsbulck received a combativity award. Our French rider Guillaume Martin was able to finish 23rd in the final GC in his first ever grand tour. Twice the team was able to win the team's day classification.
"I did not feel uncertain about the Tour selection. The whole team was optimistic, but the confirmation still brings satisfaction and rest with an eye on the future and the work that has to be done. That work begins with the training camp that kicks off today. In Benidorm we will also draw up a race program, so it is perfect to know our selection at this time."
"The organisation saw that the teams have to be prevailed in time. Now it is up to us to strengthen certain points, as for example the time trial and cobblestones. Regarding to that the participation in Criterium du Dauphiné is important. It is a small Tour de France, so it is crucial to be present. Even if there is one month between the two races in 2018. In Dauphiné I won't hit my top form, but is a good point of reference. An interesting general repetition to get to know certain climbs and get stronger with an eye on Le Tour."
"After I finished 23rd in 2017 I have the ambition to do better in 2018. But I am not yet sure If I will focus for 100% on the general classification. I might search some more freedom and thus try to chase a stage victory. In this way I also can achieve something big."
Jean-François Bourlart (general manager):
"I had good expectations after winning the Europe Tour and our more than successful debut in the Tour of 2017. We were a bit disappointed after our non-selection for Volta Catalunya. But this way we can offer our riders fantastic welcome news at the team training camp in Benidorm."
"Our TDF team will be stronger than in 2017. We have strengthened in the winter. In Dauphiné we will be able to make a first comparison."
"For our project and future ambitions this wildcard is very important. Yearly we have improved our results and quality of victories. In addition to the sportive aspect we have made progress in terms of support and communication. So I am extremely happy that Christian Prudhomme and ASO reward our project and vision on the sport with this wildcard."
Hilaire Van der Schueren (sports director):
"I have never doubted the selection, but it is still fantastic news. Participating for the second time in a row in Le Tour is a reward. ASO could not neglect is. With our offensive debut in the Tour and final victory in the Europe Tour we did everything we could. I was less sure about participating in Dauphiné. Participating is important because the type team for the Tour is formed in Dauphine. In 2017 our performance over there reassured me. "
"I hope we can do better than 2017. Showing our team colours as much as possible and arriving in Paris with eight riders are our main goals. And why not a top-15 final ranking with Guillaume Martin or mixing in the bunch sprint with Timothy Dupont? The nine riders who reached Paris in 2017 have a good chance. But we also have a lot of other candidates, including our new rider Odd Eiking. I hope that Bart De Clercq will be there, although I fear that his rehabilitation will take a long time. "