They can always console themselves by saying that other teams have already experienced this uncomfortable situation on the Tour de France. Benoît Cosnefroy, Bob Jungels and Stan Dewulf are the last three survivors of the AG2R-Citroën team in the attack of the third week. On the Tour de France 2021, another French team, Arkéa-Samsic, found itself reduced to three riders (Gesbert, Quintana, Swift) to return to Paris.
A relatively rare case, but far from unprecedented. While several teams have finished well with four riders in recent years (Lampre, Rabobank and Vacansoleil are the latest examples in 2012), others have finished with three riders more recently: Lotto-Soudal in 2018 and FDJ the year before.
Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne ended up at two in 1997
Before these two, we had to go back 14 years earlier, when Fassa-Bartolo and Gerolsteiner had respectively finished at three runners in Paris. In 1997 and 1999, this was also the case for four teams in total.
What if an additional AG2R-Citroën rider gives up before crossing the line next Sunday? The training led by Vincent Lavenu would then join the level of the Mutuelle de Seine-et-Marne team, in 1997, of which Stéphane Cueff and Dominique Rault were the last representatives in Paris.