Forget the combativity award, Tour de France teams are aiming for the creativity prize with their social media squad announcements

Start lists for major cycle races are pretty dull to look at, right?

An A4 sheet of paper/PDF with the names of 170-plus riders either grouped together by team or under team name headings.

Sometimes a tiny image of the logo or the jersey might spice things up a bit… but not much.

Surely we can do better than that!

Here at Allez! Allez! CC we love a good use of social media and over the last few years it has become the norm to announce anything – new signings, results, new sponsors etc – with a kooky video, probably dreamed up by a millennial fresh from university.

It started with football – Bristol City are a great example of just how weird and wacky things can get – but now cycling teams at all levels are embracing it.

Instead of giving you a dull list of who will be rolling out of Brussels for the 106th edition of the Tour de France on Saturday, we thought we’d let the teams themselves do it via their social media announcements.

While some have opted for a pretty traditional post – as far as traditional can be with platforms which have only been around for a decade or so – most look to have employed the same marketing agency with an app which makes everything looks a bit like it’s being watched off a vintage VCR!

So, without further ado, here’s the start list for this year’s Tour de France…

Team INEOS

The British team of reigning champion Gerraint Thomas took the usual step of naming both the Welshman and Egan Bernal as ‘joint leaders’.

We’re aware that might have been the case but they’ve never made any noises previously about having more than one leader.

Perhaps they’re not sure how Thomas will go given his exit from the Tour de Suisse…

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Team Dimension Data

There’s no Mark Cavendish in the Team Dimension Data squad for this summer’s Tour, the first time he hasn’t started the race since 2006.

But their announcement video has plenty of feel-good vibes with the team travelling to the Velokhaya Life Cycling Academy in Cape Town to allow aspiring riders there to ‘cap’ the eight men set to ride.

The charity work in Africa is a big part of the team’s ethos and getting the young cyclists from Velokhaya involved is a great way of shining a light on a great programme!

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CCC Team

CCC have already said it will all be about stage wins at this year’s Tour.

Their announcement tweet was pretty standard and there weren’t any major surprises in their squad – Greg Van Avermaet, the last Belgian to wear the yellow jersey, will lead from the front.

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Lotto Soudal

The Belgian squad decided to let the riders themselves announce their selection in a social media post which we quite like.

The self-shot/home video feel to the videos gives it a nice touch, especially the way Maxime Monfort announces to his kids that he’s off to ride…

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Movistar Team

We might think the fact that Movistar are going into the Tour with three leaders (again!) is a bonkers decision but we’re big fans of their announcement video.

They’re the team with perhaps the longest history in Le Tour and the use of old newspaper front pages and images really get the hairs on the back of the neck standing up.

Chapeau to the Spanish squad for that!

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Team Sunweb

Very similar to the Lotto Soudal announcement, Team Sunweb allows its riders to reveal they’re heading to Brussels this weekend.

The fact they pass to each other kind of ruins the surprise although it might have been interesting if one of them had thrown to a disappointed-looking Tom Dumoulin… or maybe not!

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Team Jumbo-Visma

Some of their tactics at the Giro may have been described as old school by Bradley Wiggins and that looks to have extended to their Tour de France squad announcement.

No fancy video, just a simple picture showing off the eight riders who’ll be looking towards the sprint competition and the GC over the next few weeks.

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AG2R La Mondiale

Simple but effective from the French team of Romain Bardet.

A line-up picture with links to the individual rider’s Twitter handle. What more could you ask for?

The pressure may be on Bardet to finally deliver on the biggest stage of them all, but the team has opted for a much more understated approach here.

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Team Katusha Alpecin

We’re really not quite sure what is going on here!

The rowing bit at the start is strange enough but then they somehow manage to convince Jens Debusschere that it’ll be cool to pretend to squirt Alpecin shampoo on his head…

We’ll leave it to you to decide what you think!

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Mitchelton-Scott

Mitchelton-Scott have gone all-in with their team this year with both Yates brothers riding as Adam looks to take advantage of the lack of Chris Froome and Tom Dumoulin.

Their video is pretty basic but does a pretty solid job. Given how no-nonsense directeur sportif Matt White is, he probably doesn’t care much for fancy announcements!

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Trek-Segafredo

The tweet below might look pretty dull but we should point out that each rider was announced individually.

Basically, each rider did a short video tweet themselves and that was retweeted by the team – a pretty cool way to help the riders increase their following.

Interestingly, the announcement of which female riders would travel to the Giro Rosa was done with a little more flourish – Toms Skujiล†ลก the man tasked with naming the squad (and which of them should bring the peanut butter, cheese etc).

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Bahrain Merida

Another classic-style announcement – simple line-up picture and then rider Twitter handles next to their national flag.

A fairly effective way of doing things for Vincenzo Nibali’s team who look to be going into the Tour with a decent set of riders.

All eyes will be on the Shark of Messina to see if he can add another Grand Tour to his palmares.

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UAE Team Emirates

An announcement to get the bloody pumping and the heart racing!

Energetic music coupled with slow-motion footage of riders crossing the finish line with their arms aloft is a sure-fire winner for us.

Whether Dan Martin or Fabio Aru have anything to celebrate this year remains to be seen…

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Bora Hansgrohe

The biggest shock for Bora Hansgrohe fans this summer will be seeing Peter Sagan in his normal kit!

It’s been a while since he last graced France – not including time-trials – in anything other than a national or world champions jersey.

Deceuninck Quick-Step might have the Wolfpack but Bora have decided their collective is going to be called The Brotherhood. And here they are…

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Deceuninck Quick-Step

And talking of the Wolfpack, the Deceuninck Quick-Step announcement video has a comic book feel to it.

The Wolfpack brand – dreamed up by DS Brian Holm apparently – has taken on a life of its own and now includes a merchandise range which will no doubt further swell the coffers of the Belgian squad.

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Astana

It’s been a cracking year for Astana and they go into the Tour with high hopes that Jakob Fuglsang has a chance of winning the yellow jersey.

Their announcement video looks a little bit like one of those adverts for a far-flung place (which Kazakhstan is to be fair!) you see during the ad-breaks on Eurosport. Fitting some might say…

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Groupama-FDJ

Stirring music, interesting camera footage and lots of motivational French phrases (we think!) give this a very dramatic feel.

If anything it will heap even more pressure on Thibaut Pinot, especially given the fact L’Euipe announced last week it was ‘now or never’ for him and fellow French hopeful Romain Bardet to win the Tour.

Expectation is always high but will the French drought finally come to an end?

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EF Education First

Given their hook-up with Rapha, and some of the really cool video and social stuff they’ve been doing this season, we can’t help but feel a little underwhelmed by EF’s Tour announcement.

Maybe they’ll be more to come in the next couple of days… or maybe not.

To be fair the image is pretty mint (complete with the coordinates for the Champs Elysee) and we’re sure their social media channels will be well worth a follow over the course of Le Tour!

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Wantyโ€“Groupe Gobert 

The Belgian squad were very visible last year in many a break and they’ll be sure to snag themselves plenty of TV air-time this time around.

Their announcement video is very high on our list, bringing back plenty of childhood memories of collecting stickers and playing with those metal cyclists…

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Arkea Samsic

The French pro-Continental team have the honour of having the new French national champion in their Tour squad.

And judging by the announcement picture, Warren Barguil’s jersey is a thing of beauty!

With Andre Greipel also in their ranks, expect to see Arkea Samsic at the sharp end of both sprint and mountain stages.

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Total Direct Energie

Another squad with plenty of some solid World Tour experience in their ranks.

Former Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra, two-time Grand Tour stage winner Rein Taaramae and the Italian Niccolo Bonifazio all have experience in the big races.

Their announcement video is the most Bristol City of the lot of them, with riders encouraged to do stupid moves in front of the camera. What’s not to like?

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Cofidis

A team which has had little to cheer about at the Tour for what seems like an age, Cofidis will be hoping that might change over the next month.

There’s no place in their line-up for bad boy Nacer Bouhanni but Jesus Herrada is fresh from his victory in the inaugural Mont Ventoux Denivele Challenge and Christophe Laporte is always a threat in the sprints.

Their announcement video isn’t anything spectacular but the tweet does give links to each rider’s Twitter profile (which is a real help for journalists if no-one else!).

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Main image courtesy of ASO.

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