Vincent Lavenu : "Can't wait to get started"
"There is always a lot of impatience and excitement when starting a new season. We have a quality team; solid, experienced, with leaders able to excel on many terrains. After weeks of work for the riders and the staff, it's time to get back on the road and that’s a good thing. The Santos Tour Down Under is a very beautiful race. It’s perfectly organized and we have won it four times. The weather conditions are great, the stages are short and nervous, and you have to be in good shape to shine, especially against the racers from Australia and New Zealand, since they are in the heart of their season. We kick off right a way with a UCI WorldTour race, and it is necessary to be in great shape to do well there. It’s always important to win the first race of the year to put the team on track.
Winning there would be a morale boost for the entire team and staff. We are coming with a good leader in Pierre Latour, even if he has suffered from back problems, and then notably we also have Benoît Cosnefroy. Our seven riders are extremely motivated.” VINCENT LAVENU
Quentin Jaurégui and Clément Venturini (winner in 2017) will be at the start of the French Cyclocross Championship on Sunday in Besançon (Doubs). The start will be at 14:45."Before starting the road season at the Étoile de Bessèges, the team gave me the chance to do some cyclocross races, which is my first discipline. This last Sunday, I took the second place at the Mezière race. I just want to have some fun without any pressure. I am happy to be starting with Quentin Jaurégui; it will remind us of our years racing as juniors”, said Venturini.
Pierre Latour as leader
Thirteenth overall last year, Pierre Latour will be the leader of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team at the Santos Tour Down Under : "In spite of the back problems I had over the winter, I am satisfied with my form. Last year was the first time I took part in this race, and I had a quite successful rest of the season. It’s an ideal way to start the year."
Like Latour, Nico Denz, Nans Peters and Clément Chevrier will participate in the event for the second time. The most experienced of the group is Gediminas Bagdonas who will line up for this the first UCI WorldTour stage race of the season for the third time. Two of our riders will be novices at the event, and are getting ready for the Australian heat: Hubert Dupont (15th season as a professional) and Benoît Cosnefroy.