Bryan Coquard won’t be riding the Tour de France this year after missing out on selection for the Direct Energie squad.
The French sprinter came the closest of any Direct Energie rider to winning a coveted Tour stage in the team’s brief history, missing out on victory in a photo finish with Marcel Kittel on stage four of the 2016 race.
But the 25-year-old, who turned pro with the squad 2013 when it was under Europcar sponsorship, looks to have put paid to his chances of riding the Tour after rejecting a new contract with the team in mid-May.
He admitted after a stage one victory at the Tour of Belgium that he was “on a difficult footing” with team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau after the contract snub, with Coquard looking to try and secure a spot on a WorldTour squad for 2018.
“It was not easy to make this decision. Not for him, not for me,” Coquard said to Het Nieuwsblad in May.
“I have played fair. Bernaudeau insisted that he receive an answer quickly – I could have waited [for more offers]. I really hope that our joint story finishes on a good note. He has given me a lot over the past five years.”
Coquard said after the French National Championships road race on Sunday that he assumed he was not in the Tour squad, with Direct Energie instead supporting Thomas Voeckler in his final Tour before retirement.
The French team announced their nine-man squad on Monday morning, with Bernaudeau saying “it was a complicated selection to make.”
Voeckler will lead the squad of Sylvain Chavanel, Lilian Calmejane, Adrien Petit, Romain Sicard, Perrig Quéméneur, Angelo Tulik, Thomas Boudat and Yohann Gène in search for stage wins.