Direct Energie (DEN) - Wildcard

Since its founding in 2000 by Jean-René Bernadeau, the French team has changed its name several times, the last time two years ago from Europcar to Direct Energie. The jersey colours are black and yellow; the naming sponsor is a power company. The French Pro Continental team was given a wild card by the organisers of the Tour de Suisse.

Thomas Vöckler (37) of France has been a member of the team since its founding 17 years ago and is still among the leaders of Direct Energie. TV broadcasts again and again show his daring breakaway attempts. When he tackles the mountain stages, mouth gaping, he demonstrates an edgy racing style that makes him so memorable.

The top racers also include 24-year-old Bryan Coquard and Sylvain Chavanel (37), who returned again this season. Chavanel has returned to his original team after pedalling for the now defunct IAM Cycling Team for the last two years. The Direct Energie team is made up exclusively of Frenchmen – with one exception: Antoine Duchesne definitely sounds French, but he is actually Canadian.