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Tour de France News for June 30, 2003

Edited by Jeff Jones

Tour selection "dream come true" for Matt Wilson -
record seven Australians for 2003 TdF

Matthew Wilson will be one of three Australians in FDJeux.com's Tour de France team, alongside Bradley McGee and Baden Cooke. Wilson now becomes the seventh Australian who will line up this Saturday in Paris. The Victorian will be with his FDjeux.com team-mates as well as fellow Australians Stuart O'Grady (Credit Agricole), Michael Rogers (Quick Step - Davitamon) as well as last year's green jersey winner Robbie McEwen and Nick Gates, both of the Lotto-Domo squad.

Wilson is a 25 year old rider with a remarkable ability to overcome illness. He returned to racing after a bout with cancer [Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system] three years ago and then fought his way back into the pro peloton. This year, he assumed he would not make it into his team's Tour squad this year, although he never gave up hope.

"It was pretty much my major season goal this year to make the team for the Tour," Wilson told Cyclingnews exclusively after his selection was confirmed. "It's something that I've always dreamed of and is the most important race in the world."

Wilson hasn't had a great season so far, hence his pessimism: "Things have been so up and down this year," he said. "Through the early part of the season I was constantly getting sick. Every time things would get going for a couple of weeks I would get sick and be forced off the bike again, and it all got worse when I crashed at Paris-Roubaix after just 80km and hurt my knee badly. That put me out of action for another 2 weeks."

"Since then I've managed to string together a couple of good solid months. The team had a training camp in the Alps during that time and I finally got going in the Dauphine Libéré, only to have an allergic reaction to the pollen and pull out with breathing problems. But luckily a week later I had a good Tour of Swiss and that was enough to get the start."

Wilson will be helping his teammates try and win stages this year. "My major role in the team is as a domestique, mostly in the lead up to the sprints with Baden and Brad and helping our GC riders like Nicolas Vogondy and Sandy Casar. My number one goal is to make it to Paris," he concluded.

French teams finalise Tour selections

Following the various National Championships on the weekend, the six French squads have each named their nine riders for the Tour de France.

Ag2r Prevoyance: Mikel Astarloza (Spa), Alexandre Botcharov (Rus), Laurent Brochard (Fra), Iñigo Chaurreau (Spa), Andy Flickinger (Fra), Jaan Kirsipuu (Est), Christophe Oriol (Fra), Nicolas Portal (Fra), Ludovic Turpin (Fra). Reserve: Thierry Loder (Fra).
Photo: © AFP
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Brioches La Boulangère: Walter Bénéteau (Fra), Sylvain Chavanel (Fra), Anthony Geslin (Fra), Maryan Hary (Fra), Damien Nazon (Fra), Jérôme Pineau (Fra), Franck Renier (Fra), Didier Rous (Fra), Thomas Voeckler (Fra). Reserve: Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra).

Cofidis: Médéric Clain (Fra), Iñigo Cuesta (Spa), Philippe Gaumont (Fra), Massimiliano Lelli (Ita), David Millar (GBr), David Moncoutié (Fra), Luis Perez (Spa), Guido Trentin (Ita), Cédric Vasseur (Fra). Reserve: Frédéric Bessy (Fra).

Credit Agricole: Stéphane Augé (Fra), Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra), Sébastien Hinault (Fra), Thor Hushovd (Nor), Lilian Jégou (Fra), Christophe Moreau (Fra), Stuart O'Grady (Aus), Benoît Poilvet (Fra), Jens Voigt (Ger). Reserve: Christopher Jenner (Fra)

FDJeux.com: Sandy Casar (Fra), Jimmy Casper (Fra), Baden Cooke (Aus), Carlos Dacruz (Fra), Nicolas Fritsch (Fra), Bradley McGee (Aus), Christophe Mengin (Fra), Nicolas Vogondy (Fra), Matthew Wilson (Aus). Reserve: Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra)

Jean Delatour: Pierre Bourquenoud (Swi), Samuel Dumoulin (Fra), Christophe Edaleine (Fra), Frédéric Finot (Fra), Stéphane Goubert (Fra), Patrice Halgand (Fra), Yuri Krivtsov (Ukr), Laurent Lefèvre (Fra), Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra). Reserve: Eddy Seigneur

Also see: Tour teams list, Tour team preview: Part I

Take a tour, of le Tour

Want to take a stage-by-stage look over the route of the 2003 Tour de France? Visit the Cyclingnews.com TdF section where European Editor Tim Maloney describes each stage with a detailed course profile on every single stage of this year's centenary edition. Just start with the prologue and then click on each "Next Stage" link to stay on the parcours until you reach Paris.

If you're also in the planning stages of putting together your own dream team for our Fantasy Game, or just enjoying a wager with friends or bookies, then the TdF teams form guide is a must. Part 1 of our teams' Form Guide is now posted and look for the remaining three parts over the next couple of days as all the teams are finalised.

In addition, in the lead-up to the Prologue on Saturday, Cyclingnews will be providing behind-the-scenes stories on the history of the Tour and what makes it run - from pictorial reviews of past champions through to stories on revenue-generating hospitality concepts like the Village Depart, a TdF speciality where cyclists, sponsors and assorted hangers-on congregate prior to the start of each stage. Looking like a cross between a regional trade show and sporting event, the Village Departe is a paradise of freebies for those lucky enough to have a pass.

Over the next week we'll also look at the history of the publicity caravan as well as an interview with Daniel Baal, director of cycling for ASO, the owners and organisers of the Tour de France.

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