European U23 cross country champion Gressier headlines big French team

The French team at the European Cross Country Championships will consist of 39 athletes. Jimmy Gressier, who will defend his U23 title in Tilburg, is the big star of the team. Other well known athletes are former European cross country champion Sophie Duarte, former U20 and U23 European cross country champion Hassan Chadhi and five times European champion on the track Mahiedine Mekhissi.

Gressier does not have to fear the Italian bronze medal winner of last year, Yermaneberhan Crippa, as the Italian opts to start in the senior race. Gressier will have his fellow countryman Hugo Hay at his side. Hay came in second last year. The French of course then won the team title. A title they want to prolong, as Gressier and Hay can also count on strong U23 athletes like Fabien Palcau and Louis Gilavert.

In the senior races France has two major names with Sophie Duarte in the women’s race and Hassan Chadhi in the men’s race. Duarte, the 2013 European cross country champion, is nog longer a medal contender at the age of 37. Chadhi, only 29 years of age, however came in fourth in Samorin last year and hopes to do better in Tilburg.

The Mixed Relays team features two great track athletes with Mahiedine Mekhissi, who won his fourth European 3.000m steeplechase title in Berlin and Renelle Lamote, who is a double European vice champion in the 800m.

The full French team for Tilburg can be found here