Thursday 07 February 2013 at 00h27

Last Monday AG2R LA MONDIALE presented its team for 2013. In short, the team realised that it missed out on victories in 2012 despite globally having a good level and the newcomers for 2013 have thus been chosen with the goal to get as many victories as possible for the team in 2013.

In this article you can discover all details about the riders of the team and interviews with Samuel Dumoulin, Julien Jurdie who talks about the team's goals and .. about (!), Loic Varnet about Axel Domont and Jan-Willem van der Straten about the partnership between FOCUS Bikes and the team from Chambéry.

Conclusions of 2012


From the sponsor's point of view

After having welcomed all sponsors and all other people assisting to the presentation, André Renaudin, General Director of AG2R LA MONDIALE, showed his personal passion for cycling before handing over the microphone to Yvon Breton, Delegated General Director.
Yvon Breton
Breton explained the conclusions for 2012 from a sponsor's point of view by presenting some numbers from the study the company does every year about the impact of its sponsoring of the cycling team. Among other information he told us that the visibility of the brand in terms of media exposure went up 27% to 3.5 billions of contacts, which corresponds to an equivalence of 58 millions of euros in publicity space (+9%) if the company would want to get the same exposure through more classical advertising.

Another study, by TNS Sofres, showed that at the end of 2012, AG2R LA MONDIALE is recognised as a sponsor in cycling by 30% of the people being interviewed.

On social media, the cycling team spoke about the 300,000 visits of its official website in 2012 and about its almost 27,000 fans on Facebook and almost 10,000 followers on Twitter. New in 2012 was the promotion of the team's YouTube channel with about 60 videos for around 80,000 views (of which almost 36,000 for the last one!). (the team just has to rename the channel because "Nikola Onerock" doesn't really fit it ;-))

From a sports perspective

Vincent Lavenu and Samuel DumoulinAs for the conclusions from a sports perspective, the microphone was handed over to Vincent Lavenu as the manager of the team. First of all he mentioned the good results of the team with a top 15 in the 3 Grand Tours (12th with Nicolas Roche in the Tour de France and in the Vuelta a España and 11th with John Gadret in the Giro d'Italia) and a top 5 ranking in another UCI WorldTour race (Vincent Lavenu mentioned "several races" but in my archives I only found Rinaldo Nocentini's 4th place in Tirreno-Adriatico).

As a conclusion, the manager of the team was thus satisfied by the overall performance even though he added that we were lacking victories. That's why the manager of the French team concentrated his recruitments on riders who can bring victories to the team in 2013 and Lavenu mentioned the examples of Domenico Pozzovivo (coming from Colnago-CSF Inox), Samuel Dumoulin (who left the Cofidis team), Yauheni Hutarovich (coming from FDJ-BigMat) and the Colombian rider Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (coming from the Acqua & Sapone team) who are just some of the 11 new recruits of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team. Lavenu explained that his goal was to build a dynamic team which can take some victories.

He also mentioned the fact that the UCI ProTeam licence of the team was extended with 4 years and that this renewal was the result of the good performance and the contribution of both loyal and new sponsors.

Loic Varnet, director of Chambéry Cyclisme Formation (CCF), the training team for the AG2R LA MONDIALE pro team started his conclusions with the good overall performance of his team with the first podium (3rd place) in the Coupe de France DN1 with a team made up of espoirs/students. He continued his speech by giving some interesting statistical facts about this team which sets itself the goal to not only allow riders to go pro and build up a cycling career but also to continue their studies next to the cycling career.

Axel DomontSince the end of 2007, when the Ligue Nationale de Cyclisme was created, 127 French riders became pro and among them 20 came from CCF, 3 times more than from the other structures. Concerning the education level, Loic Varnet said that at the start of a professional cycling career, the average education in France is "Bac" + 0.8 years while for the riders coming from CCF this is "Bac" + 2.8 years.

The 2013 team for AG2R LA MONDIALE

This year, yet another rider from Chambéry Cyclisme Formation joins the professional AG2R LA MONDIALE team. This rider's name is Axel Domont, a climber, aged 22 years old. He joined Chambéry Cyclisme Formation in 2010 and in 2012 his main result was a victory in the Tour of Tuscany.

In front of's camera, Loic Varnet presents this young rider but also discussed a bit more in detail the perspectives of CCF. Discover all that in the video below. Please note that, as all videos in this article, this video is available in HD. It is thus recommended to switch to full screen and to choose the 1080HD setting in the lower right corner.

The riders were presented in small groups of 4 or 5 riders each. This was for example the perfect occasion to discover that the French team now has no less than 5 Italian riders, with Domenico Pozzovivo and Davide Appollonio (coming from Sky), but also Manuel Belleti, Matteo Montaguti and Rinaldo Nocentini who were already part of the AG2R LA MONDIALE team in 2012.

The other new riders of the team are:
Samuel Dumoulin- Gediminas Bagdonas, a complete rider from Lithuania who's a good sprinter and who joins the team, coming from An Post-Sean Kelly,
- Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez, the only Colombian rider of the team,
- Steve Chainel who left the FDJ-BigMat team to ride for AG2R LA MONDIALE in cyclo cross and classics,
- Hugo Houle, the only Canadian rider of the team who had to find a new team at the very last minute after the Spidertech Powered by C10 team disappeared*,
- Yauheni Hutarovich, the White-Russian sprinter coming from FDJ-BigMat,
- the Kazakh Valentin Iglinskiy coming from Astana,
- the German climber Julian Kern (Leopard-Trek Continental Team) and
- Samuel Dumoulin who doesn't need any presentation anymore!

Interview Samuel Dumoulin

No need for a presentation anymore but we decied to let Samuel talk about his new team himself in the interview below where we talk about his stage victory in the Etoile de Bessèges 2013 after having missed the victory for only a few millimeters in the [[Grand Prix La Marseillaise]] last week.

The riders who stayed

In addition to the 11 new riders, 18 riders remain loyal to the team from Chambéry which will thus have a total of 29 riders.

Lloyd MondoryThese riders are both solid building blocks of the team who've been there for several years now, with for example Lloyd Mondory who joined the team in 2004, Christophe Riblon who's part of the team since 2005, Hubert Dupont and John Gadret since 2006 or Rinaldo Nocentini, since 2007.

But among these riders there are also some riders who joined the team not so long ago, like Romain Bardet who was the rider who promoted from Chambéry Cyclisme Formation last year, or Manuel Belletti and Sylvain Georges who were also new in the team in 2012.

Several other riders now really start to secure their usual spot in the AG2R LA MONDIALE team for quite some time now:
- Guillaume Bonnafond and Blel Kadri since 2009,
- Julien Bérard, Maxime Bouet, Ben Gastauer and Anthony Ravard since 2010,
- Mikaël Cherel, Sébastien Minard, Matteo Montaguti and Jean-Christophe Péraud since 2011


Interview Julien Jurdie: the goals of the team, Samuel Dumoulin and ... the help from!

All these riders of course need some guidance from the directeurs sportifs and in that role the team has Laurent Biondi, Didier Jannel, Julien Jurdie, Arturas Kasputis, Gilles Mas and Stéphane Goubert as an assistant directeur sportif/trainer.

After the presentation, Julien Jurdie specifically asked me to correctly prepare the Google Maps/Google Earth version of the Tour du Haut Var 2013 race route. Indeed, as the directeur sportif on this race, he will once again use my maps during the briefing of the riders the morning before each of the stages to present them the particularities of the race route!

After having discussed the overall goals of the team and the specific goals for Samuel Dumoulin, Julien Jurdie explained how he uses those maps!

The team's new bike: the FOCUS Izalco Team SL

This year again, the AG2R LA MONDIALE team changes bikes, after having signed a contract back in September for 3 years with FOCUS, who supplied Milram, Katusha Team and Acqua e Sapone before.

In the interview below you'll discover the reasons behind FOCUS' choice to sponsor the AG2R LA MONDIALE team, the importance of the international character of the team and the particularities of the bike.

The interview is in Dutch but in order to make it accessible to anyone, you can discover the questions in English on the left hand side of the screen on the blue background and the answers in the lower subtitles.
The team will most often use a FOCUS Izalco Team SL while the time trials will be done on a FOCUS Izalco Chrono. Steve Chainel will start his cyclo cross races on a FOCUS Mares.

The photos of the AG2R LA MONDIALE 2013 team presentation

In this article you've already discovered some of the photos taken at the team presentation. However, if you'd like to see the full selection, you can click the following link:

>> Check out the 54 photos of the official AG2R LA MONDIALE 2013 cycling team presentation

* officially the Canadian team has been put on standby and it should come back with even higher ambitions than before in 2014

door Thomas Vergouwen
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