Romain Bardet leaves AG2R for Sunweb, Greg Van Avermaet arrives at French

CYCLING – Romain Bardet, second in the 2016 Tour de France and third the following year, has signed up for two years with the Sunweb team starting next season, the German team announced on Monday, August 10.

Due to this season cut short by the coronavirus epidemic, the 29-year-old French climber will have to compete in one last Tour de France with his life-long AG2R La Mondiale team starting on August 29.

With Sunweb, you will then discover abroad for the first time, who has been evolving since the beginning of your professional career, nine years ago, under the same colors.

“When considering options outside of my current team, it was very important for me to find a team that works incrementally, involving the latest technology in equipment and other areas. I also wanted a team with a clear vision of the sport and a team that is a member of the MPCC (Movement for credible cycling, fighting doping) ”, declared Bardet, second in the 2018 World Cup but with stagnant performances last year.

Course change on AG2R

At Team Sunweb, I have the opportunity to start with no specific expectations or a specific race to aim for. Instead, we will focus first on the basics and fundamentals ”, added the winner of the GP de la Montagne of the last Tour de France, who s

It should be noted that at the same time, the French AG2R team (which will be renamed next season AG2R Citroën Team with the arrival of the automaker as a new sponsor) announced that this departure was offset by an important arrival. It is simply the current Olympic champion, the Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (35) who joins “earth and sky”, in the company of his deputy, the Swiss Michaël Schär (33 years).

The arrival of Van Avermaet marks an expansion of the record aimed at by Vincent Lavenu’s team, which already included another Belgian, Olivier Naesen, and which is now on its way to becoming one of the great armies of the classics. of cobblestones, after being reinforced by the arrival of the Belgian Esperanza Stan Dewulf and his compatriot Gijs Van Hoecke.

French cycling in crisis

This shock transfer represented by the arrival of Van Avermaet also illustrates the new attraction represented by French teams, long forgotten by foreign stars. Last year, Arkea-Samsic secured the entry of Colombian Nairo Quintana, former winner of the Giro and the Vuelta.

Since joining the cycling elite in 2007, 35-year-old Van Avermaet has built an excellent track record. Starting in 2015, two stage victories on the Tour and especially the Olympic title at Rio-2016, then his success at Paris-Roubaix the following year placed him at the top of the hierarchy.

With the support of Citroën, which has allowed a significant increase in the budget, Lavenu intends to build a group capable of competing with the other leading French formation, Groupama-FDJ, organized around Thibaut Pinot and Arnaud Démare. Even if he will lose at the end of the year his first two assets for the general classification of the big tours, Pierre Latour (leaving for Total Direct Energie) and therefore Romain Bardet.

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