Friday, January 16, 2015

Quick Team Preview: Armée de Terre

Instead of writing big long team previews literally going through every rider, I'm going to try a different approach of highlighting a few riders and key points about a team so that I can get through all that I want to cover with greater turnover.

Armée de Terre

Full roster

This team is a Twitter favorite with their camouflage kits but the team, which is literally The French Army, has been one of the strongest on the French DN1 amateur circuit for the past few years and will be making the step up to the Continental level for 2015.
The team has been known for working very efficiently with one another and especially in some lower races, they have stacked the top 10 with the most I've seen is getting the top 7 in one race. While this is a new jump in competition, they have already raced in some French continental races and shown their worth. The squad took 61 wins on the road in 2014 as well as 65 other podium places. They boast alumni in Nacer Bouhanni and Julian Alaphilippe

The team only has a handful of U23s but they are a strong bunch. Bryan Alaphilippe is the younger brother of Etixx-OPQS's Julian and was a strong junior with 13 wins in the final junior season. He had a fairly quiet year last year but is a developing sprinter. Bruno Armirail is a time trial machine that is the current French U23 TT Champion. He isn't consistent but has a big engine. Kevin Lebreton won the opening stage of the Kreiz Breizh Elites and rides well on the French flat. David Cherbonnet was 2nd in a tight sprint in the French U23 RR and seems to ride well on tough courses; always being a rider that can stick around for a small group sprint.

The team is anchored by older riders including Yoann Barbas, Julien Duval, Yann Guyot, Jimmy Raibaud and Benoît Sinner.

Barbas is a climbing machine that won the Tour des Pays de Savoie in 2013 and was 4th their this past year.

Guyot won 17 races last year including the French amateur RR, a stage in the Tour de Bretagne, the UCI GP des Marbriers as well as the overall classification for the best French amateur rider. He isn't a high mountains rider but will be competitive on nearly any other surface and will be the team's anchor. Sinner is another big winner with 7 to his name in 2014. Sinner formerly rode for Agritubel but after a stint with Armée de Terre, he is back to the pro ranks and will be able to mix it up in bunch sprints.

Duval has spent the last two years at Roubaix - Lille Métropolé with some top 10s in big French races, most of which end in some sort of a sprint. Raibaud won the 2nd round of the amateur Coupe de France at the GP Buxerolles in a two-up sprint ahead of now-teammate Yann Guyot as well as a sprint stage of Rhône-Alpes Isére Tour.

Like most French teams, this team is filled with a bunch of scrappers along with a few gems. Like many others, they will get into the early breakaways and try to hold on valiantly in some races that are over their heads. While their roster is filled with riders that are trying to make a comeback or just even make it in the first place, they have a strong team that could surprise a few in the coming year. I'm sure we will head an on-air orgasm from Carlton Kirby about their kits and something-something "bringing out the big guns" will be said more times than my stomach can handle.

Another plus for the team is that they have hired Jimmy Casper as a sports director for 2015. He will certainly bring a depth of knowledge that they will be needing with the step up to the next level.

Verdict: 12 UCI wins

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