The 2018 AG2R LA MONDIALE Pro cycling team was officially presented today by Vincent Lavenu, General Manager of the team, and by André Renaudin, Managing Director of AG2R LA MONDIALE in Paris at the headquarters of its main sponsor. This presentation was an opportunity to review the team’s new recruits, its goals for the 2018 season, and of course revisit the successes of the 2017 season.
The 2018 team: a stable group, bigger goals
The AG2R LA MONDIALE team has been strengthened by the arrival of three very experienced riders (Silvan Dillier, Tony Gallopin and Clément Venturini). Their initial task will be to shine in the Classics races with the hope of scooping up one of the “Monuments of Cycling.” They will also be expected then to reinforce the strength of the group for the stage races.
As a former member of the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation, Silvan Dillier enjoyed an excellent season in 2017 with a stage victory at the Giro d’Italia, the general classification of the Route du Sud, and the Swiss Championships. Considered one of the best rouleurs in the peloton, the former World Team Time Trial Champion will be a valuable asset.
Having been a professional since 2008, and a wearer of the yellow jersey at the 2014 Tour de France, Tony Gallopin joins the AG2R LA MONDIALE team with multiple ambitions. The rider from Paris dreams of winning a great classic. He will also be a valuable asset to Oliver Naesen, who himself was the revelation of the 2017 spring campaign. Very comfortable in the one-week races, Tony Gallopin will also bring his deep experience of racing Grand Tours.
At just 24 years old, Clément Venturini won the general classification 4 Jours de Dunkerque. The 2017 French Cyclocross Champion is also one of the best puncheurs in France, and his turn of speed should enable him to take many great victories.
In 2018, the AG2R LA MONDIALE team will continue its policy of mentoring young riders with the arrival of Aurélien Paret-Peintre on August 1st. Paret-Peintre, who shares the Savoie roots of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team, will be the 11th rider in the squad who has also been a member of the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation. That represents more than a third of the riders on the team.
Partners signed up for the long haul
After celebrating the 20th anniversary of the partnership with AG2R LA MONDIALE in 2017, the team continues to commit to long term relationships with companies. This will be the seventh year that the riders will wear EKOI helmets. Bollé will protect their eyes for the fourth year. As the team enters its second season of partnership with the British bicycle brand Factor, the Italian brand ROSTI will supply the cycling clothing and notably, the new jersey.
“France’s favorite team” since 2014
Their aggressive racing, the sense of the team spirit, and the pugnacity of the riders has made an impression on the French fans, who named the AG2R LA MONDIALE as their favorite cycling team for the fourth year in a row (source: Kantar TNS study, September 2017).
Vincent Lavenu, General Manager of the cycling team:
“The 2017 season brought us many intense moments and high emotion. Oliver Naesen’s exceptional performances in the Classics, Pierre Latour’s victory in the French time trial championships, Romain Bardet’s second consecutive podium at the Tour de France, the quality of our new recruits, and the unconditional support of the fans and our partners all encourage us to raise our ambitions for the 2018 season. None of this would be possible without the loyalty and fraternal bond we have with to AG2R LA MONDIALE, which allows us today to be able to compete with the best teams in the peloton. Over the years, we have built up a team spirit of amazing maturity and serenity. The riders are ambitious and aware that the greatest victories are within reach. We are ready to step up to the challenge. The AG2R LA MONDIALE team has what it takes to take control of tomorrow! We can do it.”
Photo: Xavier Renauld