Of the four wildcard entries into the 2017 Tour de France, only one comes from outside of France. The Wanty-Groupe Gobert team is based in Belgium, and makes its Grand Tour debut in the 104th edition of the Tour de France.
- Wanty-Groupe Gobert was founded in 2008 as the Continental level team Willems Verandas. The team took on its current name in 2014.
- The team currently rides at Pro Continental level, and were the only Pro Continental team to win a WorldTour one day race in 2016, with Enrico Gasparotto’s victory in the Amstel Gold Race.
- Wanty-Groupe Gobert have never ridden a Grand Tour, and each of the 9 selected riders is making his Tour debut.
- The Tour team features: Frederik Backaert, Thomas Degand, Guillaume Martin, Marco Minnaard, Yoann Offredo, Andrea Pasqualon, Dion Smith, Guillaume Van Keirsbulck, Pieter Vanspeybrouck.
Stage 2 Spoils
With todays stage finishing in Belgium, it seems fitting that a Belgian team ended the day as leaders of the team classification. Yoann Offredo was awarded the Most Combative Rider after his excellent ride in the two-man breakaway, which he rode with Cannondale-Drapac’s Taylor Phinney. “I studied the race book and immediately saw that an escape would leave early. When the break was formed, I wondered why I was in front. It was raining the whole day, but the feeling was good…some talked about a breakaway for publicity but that was not my main goal. In my mind there was something else. The stage victory.” Unfortunately for Offredo, the peloton caught the break with 1k to go.
Speaking of Offredo’s ride, directeur sportif Hilaire Van der Schueren said “I am more than satisfied. This is the scenario we dreamed of! I saw the sponsors in tears…such days are not common”.
Only two days in to the 2017 Tour and Wanty-Groupe Gobert already have much to be proud of!