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Giro d’Italia (May 6-29) – Equipe cycliste AG2R CITROËN TEAM

Laurent Biondi, sports manager for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM, presents the eight riders from the team who will be at the start of the Giro d’Italia 2022.

LILIAN CALMEJANE

29 years old / 12 professional victories
1st participation

« Lilian is an experienced rider who will be able to bring his race craft to the group and in particular help out Félix. He will be an important element in our team plan, and especially in our quest for a stage victory. He will aim for the hilly stages that suit his qualities. »

MIKAËL CHÉREL

36 years old
4th participation
Best result: 10th on a stage (2011)

« Mikaël is taking part in his sixteenth Grand Tour. His experience and qualities in the mountains will be essential alongside Félix. He will be able to help and advise the team, but also play his card on certain stages to snag his first professional victory. »

FÉLIX GALL

24 years old
1st participation
« Félix has been the happy surprise for the start to the season for the AG2R CITROËN TEAM. He has shown that he had great potential in stage races thanks to his good recovery qualities. He will be our sole leader for the general classification. However, this is his first Grand Tour and therefore his first experience of managing a three-week race. He will aim for a top 15 in the general classification and depending on the opportunities, a stage victory. »

JAAKKO HÄNNINEN

25 years old
2nd participation

« Jaakko has had a rocky start to the season with health issues and crashes. We hope to see him regain confidence throughout this Giro and the physical qualities allowing him to be an animator at the front on certain stages. He will also be an important element in helping to protect Félix. »

LAWRENCE NAESEN

29 years old
2nd participation
Best result: 8th on a stage (2021)

« Lawrence replaces Clément Berthet, who crashed and broke his collarbone in the Tour of the Alps. Even if he did not have the ideal preparation for a Grand Tour, he will have a key role in protecting Félix on the flat and tricky stages, and he will be able to play his card on certain sprint stages. »

NANS PETERS

28 years old / 2 professional victories
2nd participation
Best result: stage victory (2019)

« Nans has had a good preparation including an altitude training camp at Etna. The Giro d’Italia is his big goal for the start of the season. He will be a valuable rider around Félix but also to go for a stage victory as he did in 2019. »

NICOLAS PRODHOMME

25 years old
1st participation

« Nicolas is a young rider. He will ride the Giro d’Italia for the first time after having done the Vuelta a Espana in 2021 where he took a nice top-10 on one of the stages. His climbing qualities will be useful in accompanying Félix but he will also be able to slip into the breakaway on difficult stages. »

ANDREA VENDRAME

27 years old / 4 professional victories
5th participation
Best result: stage victory (2021)

« Andrea is the rider on the team who knows the Giro d’Italia best. His knowledge of the roads will be an asset for the whole team. He has qualities as a puncher that can allow him to take victories in sprints from small groups and the strength to win from a breakaway like his victory last year. »

The number

2

Two riders from the AG2R CITROËN TEAM at the start have already won a stage victory in the Giro d’Italia. Nans Peters won the seventeenth stage in 2019 and Andrea Vendrame won the twelfth stage in 2021.
Lilian Calmejane, who is taking part in the Giro d’Italia for the first time, can enter the exclusive group of riders who have won stages at all three Grand Tours. He won stage four of the Vuelta a Espana in 2016 and took the victory in stage eight of the Tour de France in 2017.

The news

Sixteenth Grand Tour for Mikaël Chérel

On Friday, May 6th, in Budapest (Hungary), Mikaël Chérel will start his sixteenth Grand Tour. He has participated six times in the Tour de France, six times in the Vuelta a Espana, and this will be his fourth participation in the Giro d’Italia.
Félix Gall is taking part in his first Grand Tour.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Eschborn-Frankfurt (May 1) – Equipe cycliste AG2R CITROËN TEAM

Jaakko Hänninen : « Stay positive »

« My start to the season has not been easy since I have suffered from several viruses and have had two recent crashes during Paris-Camembert and in the third stage of the Tour of the Alps. I took some time to heal up and I have been much better for a few days. The feelings also are coming back. It’s never easy to bounce back when you have a series of problems, but I am someone who stays positive and who always looks to the future. I am motivated for the future. 
Eschborn-Frankfurt may be a race for the sprinters, but it’s not such an easy profile. It’s a very fast paced race and there is often a ton of action. We have a team capable of achieving a result, notably with Marc Sarreau.
From my side, it will be a very good opportunity to see how the legs are feeling before the Giro d’Italia. This will be my second participation in the Giro and I am already looking forward to returning to the incredible atmosphere of that Grand Tour. »Jaakko

 

The number

4

Paul Lapeira, Antoine Raugel, Marc Sarreau, and Andrea Vendrame, four of the seven riders of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM at the start, have never participated in Eschborn-Frankfurt.

The news

Warbasse, Godon, Berthet and Champoussin currently unable to race

Larry Warbasse, a victim of the mass crash at KM 194 in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and suffering from testicular lesions with hematoma, is unavailable through May 6th.
Dorian Godon, also caught up in the mass crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège, was operated on Monday, April 25th, in Herstal (Belgium) for a fracture of the left clavicle and also suffers from a fracture of the right wrist. He returned to France on Tuesday, April 26th, and is unavailable through May 7th.
Clément Berthet, the victim of a fractured left collarbone following a crash in the fourth stage of the Tour of the Alps, is authorized to resume training on the road starting on April 30th.
Clément Champoussin, the victim of an undisplaced fracture of the lower end of the right radius during the third stage of the Tour of the Alps, is also authorized to resume training on the road starting on April 30th.
The date when they can return to competition has not yet been set.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Who’s Stan Dewulf? – Equipe cycliste AG2R CITROËN TEAM

Stan invited us to visit him at home, in Ghent. The opportunity to ask him questions we don’t often ask, to meet the man behind the rider.

▪️ How and why did you start cycling?

At home, it was all “football football football”. And one summer, thanks to the dad of one of my friends, I don’t know why, I tried cycling. I really liked it and they were really surprised that after 80km I was not completely dead. So, they convinced me to register in a club. My first year, I was not really good: I finished 83rd of my region. But the year after, I won 11 times and finished 1st. And from there, everything started.

▪️ What do you find in cycling that motivates you?

Of course, I like the rides, the training. But I think the truth is that I’m really competitive, and what I like about cycling is that you are on your own. It’s yourself that you have to push, you cannot count on someone else. Every race you have to push yourself to the limit… it may look strange, but it’s really something I like.

▪️ How did you join AG2R CITROËN Team?

They came to me and I was very happy. I had quite a big injury the year before. It was one week after the season, a car hit me and I badly injured my knee. But they trusted me anyway, and I’m very grateful for that.

▪️ How does it feel to be a pro rider?

Making of your hobby your profession is really something amazing to do. I know I’m very lucky. But it comes also with sacrifices. When you’re a pro rider, it’s always, everyday: when you eat, when you hang out with friends… there’s no “on” and “off”. You also have to accept to be far from home and from your friends. I’m away 200 days per year.

▪️ What’s on your “cycling bucket list”?

As a professional, victories of course. My dream race is Paris-Roubaix. I’ve always been connected to this race, even before I won it in U23. Also, I’d really like to participate at least once to the Tour de France. Aside from my pro career, I’d like to go with a friend to participate in the Cape Epic or the Crocodile Trophy and go bikepacking with my younger brother.

▪️ And aside from cycling, what are your hobbies?

The most important is to spend time with my friends. I often invite them for dinner, we play darts… we also got into board games since the COVID quarantine! And I’m passionate about beer. With a friend, we brew our own beer, we develop our own recipes, and we even have the project to maybe put it on the market one day.

— Léo Bochet to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Classic Grand Besançon Doubs (April 15) – Tour du Jura Cycliste (April 16)

Nans Peters : « The goal is to win »

“I was lucky enough to get back on my bike quickly after the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya (he retired during the second stage after having a crash that required stitches). Since March 28, I have been training at altitude at Etna to prepare in good conditions for the next objectives, which are the Tour de Romandie and then the Giro d’Italia. The Classic Grand Besançon Doubs and the Tour du Jura Cycliste will allow me to refine my condition from training and see where I am in terms of sensations.
We are fielding a very good team on both days and the objective will be simple: to win.
These are races that correspond to our qualities and we have the riders to influence the race. It is up to us to perform well collectively.”Nans

The number

2

The AG2R CITROËN TEAM finished on the podium in both events in 2021.
Benoît Cosnefroy won the Tour du Jura Cycliste and Andrea Vendrame finished second in the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs.

The news

Clément Berthet at home

The Classic Grand Besançon Doubs will finish in Montfaucon, the village where Clément Berthet lives.
“I’m very happy to be racing at home this Friday. During the racing season, few people are so lucky to have a race that ends a few meters from home. I know the roads by heart and the finishing climb is really difficult. It will all be great entertainment,” Clément Berthet said.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Paris-Roubaix (April 17) – Equipe cycliste AG2R CITROËN TEAM

Vincent Lavenu: “Make our mark”

“Paris-Roubaix is the last of the cobbled classics. We hope it will be favorable to us because so far we have not lived up to our hopes despite Greg van Avermaet’s third place and Oliver Naesen’s fourth in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
We have the desire, and we have talented riders. We intend to make our mark on the occasion because our classics group has great potential. Like many teams, several of our riders have fallen ill in recent weeks and have struggled to recover, like Oliver Naesen.
Paris-Roubaix remains a race like no other where you need to be successful.
Benoît Cosnefroy’s excellent second place at the Amstel Gold Race showed us the way.”Vincent

The number

1

Antoine Raugel will participate for the first time in Paris-Roubaix.
Greg Van Avermaet and Michaël Schär are racing Paris-Roubaix for the eleventh time. The Belgian rider has always finished in the Roubaix velodrome.

The news : Reconnoitering the course and a press briefing on Thursday

The riders of the AG2R CITROËN TEAM will recon the cobbled sections from section 26 (Solesmes) to section 11 (Mons-en-Pévèle) on Thursday beginning at 10.45 in Solesmes.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Paris-Camembert (April 12) – Equipe cycliste AG2R CITROËN TEAM

Geoffrey Bouchard: “To go for the victory as a team”

« I fell ill before the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya. So, I am returning to competition after a long period where I was able to recover and prepare for my next objectives.
I don’t race a lot of the Coupe de France rounds, but Paris-Camembert is one of the most difficult with an interesting amount of elevation gain. Last year, we had a good race as a team that ended with Dorian Godon’s victory and my third place.
This year, we will work in a similar way in order to look for the victory.
It’s also an opportunity to see where my form is ahead of the Tour des Alpes (April 18-22) and the Tour de Romandie (April 26-May 1), which are the next two goals on my calendar. »Geoffrey

The number

4

The AG2R CITROËN TEAM has won Paris-Camembert four times in the last six editions with Cyril Gautier in 2016, Benoît Cosnefroy in 2019 and Dorian Godon in 2020 and 2021.
In addition, Lilian Calmejane won the race in 2018 wearing the colors of Direct Énergie.

The news

Marc Sarreau and the AG2R CITROËN TEAM lead the Coupe de France standings

After the first six rounds, Marc Sarreau is at the top of the individual classification of the Coupe de France.
The AG2R CITROËN TEAM dominates the team classification.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Circuit Cycliste Sarthe – Pays de la Loire Benoît Cosnefroy 2nd overall

Benoît Cosnefroy: “I increased the pressure day after day”

« The weather made this last day more difficult than it looked on paper. The guys did a great job throughout the stage to protect me. With the rain, the finish was tense and the crash a few kilometers from the finish disrupted everything.
I’m happy with my feelings after four days of racing. The first stage is the one where I got the best result but it is not the one where I felt the best. I have been able to build up the pressure day after day this week, which bodes well for the Ardennes classics which are coming soon. »Benoit

 

The number

13

Félix Gall took 13th place in the 5th stage of Itzulia Basque Country.
He occupies the 17th place on the general classification.

 

The news

On to the Amstel Gold Race for Benoît Cosnefroy

Benoît Cosnefroy is heading to the Netherlands today to compete in the Amstel Gold Race on Sunday.
“The Ardennes classics are a very important goal in my season. It will be essential to perform well there. I feel ready,” Benoît Cosnefroy said.

— Romain Perez Canales to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Circuit Cycliste Sarthe – Pays de la Loire, stage 1 Benoît Cosnefroy 2nd

Benoît Cosnefroy: “Feeling good physically”

“I wanted to get into the main break but I couldn’t. This first stage had some difficult points in the middle of the course. We took advantage of it with Clément Venturini’s attack. A big group rejoined us with some of the favorites. There was then a standoff within the peloton and we held on till the finish. I am feeling good physically, I tried to attack with a kilometer to go, which allowed me to be well positioned for the final sprint and to secure this second place. This is a good result to kick off the period of racing that I am facing.”Benoit

 

The number

2

Benoît Cosnefroy posted his second podium of the 2022 season with this second place. He took third place in the Drôme Classic at the end of February.

 

The news

19th place for Aurélien Paret-Peintre in stage 2 of Itzulia Basque Country

Aurélien Paret-Peintre took 19th place in the same time as the winner of the day. He is 21st overall, thirty seconds behind the race leader.

— Léo Bochet to ag2rcitroenteam.com

Team BikeExchange women stacked with climbers for Cycliste Feminin de L’Ardeche as Kennedy lines-up for her final race – Team BikeExchange

Team BikeExchange women make a quick turn-around and return to action tomorrow for the week-long Cycliste Feminin de L’Ardeche, a hilly French race which is renowned for its challenging parcourse.

The team is stacked with climbing talent and is looking for a strong showing following on from an aggressive four-days of racing last week, at the Ceratizit Challenge. Australian climber Lucy Kennedy is set to make the final racing appearance of her career at the event, having recently announced her retirement from professional cycling.

Fresh from multiple top-15 placings over the past weeks, Ane Santesteban has shown strong form and will be joined by Australian climber Amanda Spratt, with puncheur Janneke Ensing, Teniel Campbell and Jess Allen making it a well-balanced six-rider squad.

Team BikeExchange at the Tour Cycliste Feminin de L’Ardeche:
Jess Allen (AUS)
Teniel Campbell (TTO)
Janneke Ensing (NED)
Lucy Kennedy (AUS)
Ane Santesteban (ESP)
Amanda Spratt (AUS)

Lucy Kennedy
I have very good memories from Ardeche, having won it on the Australian national team in 2017. We have great depth on our team here and most of us have arrived from Ceratizit Challenge by la Vuelta where we combined well. We’ll build on that and are motivated to turn it into strong results. 

I have very mixed emotions starting my final race. I don’t want it to just slip by, but I want to make it a really positive and memorable week, and to just appreciate the incredible experience of being a professional bike rider.

As far as the Ardeche courses go, this is one of the less challenging editions on paper, but every stage has varied and challenging terrain. By this time in the season, some riders in the peloton are tired while others are coming to peaks, which makes the tactics and racing quite unpredictable. We have the depth to be adaptable to all kinds of scenarios.”

2021 Tour Cycliste Feminin de L’Ardeche Race Details:
Wednesday, 8th September: Stage 1, Aubenas to Barjac, 115km
Thursday, 9th September: Stage 2, Anneyron to Beauchastel. 122.6km
Friday, 10th September: Stage 3, Avigon to Avignin, 133.8km
Saturday, 11th September: Stage 4, Aumont-Aubrace to Mont Lozère, 119.6km
Sunday, 12th September: Stage 5, St Jean en Royans to St Jean en Royans, 113.5km
Monday, 13th September: Stage 6, Anduze to Anduze, 138.5km
Tuesday, 14th September: Stage 7, Le Pouzin to Privas 81.5km

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

— Team BikeExchange to www.greenedgecycling.com