The reigning champion, Hugo Hofstetter, is one of the favourites to win the 39th edition of the Tro Bro Leon, which will take place on Sunday, 7 May. The Alsatian rider is spearheading Arkéa–Samsic’s formidable line-up, which also features Luca Mozzato (runner-up last year) and Laurent Pichon (seventh).
Their main challengers will be two titans of the cobbled classics, John Degenkolb and Alexander Kristoff, along with Arnaud De Lie, the rising star of bunch sprints who snatched fourth place last time.
The 2014 winner, Adrien Petit (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty), back on the roads following a spell on the sidelines due to injury, is joining forces with the Belgian Baptiste Planckaert, who has finished the podium of the Breton race twice, but never on the top step.
The Tro Bro Leon could not come at a better time for the fans who have already started to pine for the cobblestones. Its famous unpaved roads, the ribinoù, will extend the magic of the spring classics with a dash of salty air on Sunday, 7 May. It is no coincidence to find two consummate cobble-gobblers in Brittany, to wit, John Degenkolb (winner of the 2015 Paris–Roubaix) and Alexander Kristoff (2015 Tour of Flanders). The former came close to another stunning feat in the Hell of the North (seventh), only to be denied by a nasty fall in the Carrefour de l’Arbre, while the Norwegian took fifteenth place.
The start list is bursting with classics specialists, such as Anthony Turgis and Edvald Boasson Hagen from TotalEnergies and AG2R Citroën’s Belgian duo of Oliver Naesen and Stan Dewulf. At Lotto Dstny, Florian Vermeersch (second in Roubaix in 2021 and twelfth this year) will team up with the new sprint sensation, Arnaud De Lie, who impressed with fourth place in his debut last year.
Cofidis will be banking on the combination of the German powerhouse Max Walscheid, who also shone in Roubaix (eighth), and a promising rider from the Vosges, Axel Zingle (tenth in the Amstel Gold Race), whose mountain biking background will definitely be an asset on the trails of Finistère.
Two former winners, both French, are slated to take part. The defending champion, Hugo Hofstetter, will line up with his runner-up from last year’s race, decided in a sprint: the Italian speedster Luca Mozzato, who has since joined Arkéa–Samsic. The Breton outfit is going into the event with lofty ambitions, as its roster includes four of the top seven in the 2022 edition, with the Norman Matis Louvel (sixth) and the unlucky hero Laurent Pichon (seventh), whose fight for victory ended up not with a bang, but with a whimper, due to a puncture. Now, the man from Finistère hopes his twelfth participation will finally be the one after finishing nine times in the top 20 (fourth in 2016 and 2017).
The 2014 victor from the Nord department, Adrien Petit (Intermarché–Circus–Wanty) will share the spotlight with the Belgian Baptiste Planckaert, the only rider in the peloton to have finished twice on the podium of the Tro Bro Leon (second in 2019 and third in 2021) without ever taking the win. Fourth in 2021, the Breton Olivier Le Gac will guide the young guns of Groupama–FDJ, featuring the likes of Romain Gregoire (eighth in Strade Bianche), the Kiwi Laurence Pithie (the recent winner of Cholet–Pays de la Loire) and the Brit Samuel Watson, fifth last year.
22 teams, main contenders:
Team DSM: Degenkolb (GER) and Dainese (ITA)
Lotto Dstny: De Lie, Van Moer and F. Vermeersch (BEL)
Intermarché–Circus–Wanty: Petit (FRA), N. Bonifazio (ITA) and Planckaert (BEL)
Bingoal–WB: Van Keirsbulck (BEL)
Team Flanders-Baloise: Van Poucke (BEL)
Burgos BH: Barthe (FRA), Bol (NED) and Madrazo (ESP)
Caja Rural–SEG: Aular (VEN) and Barrenetxea (ESP)
Equipo Kern Pharma: Pau Miquel (ESP)
Euskaltel–Euskadi: Iturria, Iribar and Martin (ESP)
Human Powered Health: Haga (USA)
AG2R Citroën: Dewulf (BEL), Gautherat (FRA), Naesen (BEL) and Venturini (FRA)
Team Arkéa Samsic: Hofstetter, Louvel (FRA), Mozzato (ITA) and Pichon (FRA)
Groupama–FDJ: Gregoire (FRA), Pithie (NZL), Le Gac and Penhoet (FRA)
Cofidis: Zingle (FRA), Wallays (BEL) and Walscheid (GER)
TotalEnergies: Boasson Hagen (NOR), Turgis and Dujardin (FRA)
St. Michel–Mavic–Auber93: R. Barbier (FRA) and Van Niekerk (RSA)
CIC U Nantes Atlantique: P. Barbier and Morin (FRA)
Nice Métropole Côte d’Azur: Le Ny (FRA)
Israel–Premier Tech: Nizzolo (ITA) and Van Asbroeck (BEL)
Uno-X Pro Cycling Team: Kristoff (NOR)
Bolton Equities Black Spoke: Fouché and Jackson (NZL)
Q36.5 Pro Cycling Team: Calzoni (ITA)
More information about Tro Bro Leon on trobroleon.com