AG2R-La Mondiale confirm 2017 early-season rider programmes

Bakelants and Pozzovivo named in Tour Down Under team

French WorldTour team AG2R-La Mondiale have confirmed the racing programme of its 2017 team for the first two-and-half months of the new season that will see it start the year in Australia at the Tour Down Under. Romain Bardet's previously announced race programme remains unchanged with the Frenchman to debut at La Méditerranéenne in early February.

AG2R-La Mondiale will race the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, elevated to the WorldTour from 2017, for the first next season with the same squad it sending to the Tour Down Under. The January 29 date for the Australian one-day race is also the same day it starts its European season at the GP Marseillaise where new signing Alexandre Geniez makes his debut with the team.

Italian climber Domenico Pozzovivo is confirmed to again start his season in Australia where leads the team alongside Jan Bakelants. Frenchman Clément Chevrier will be making his AG2R-La Mondiale and Australian racing debut with the team with Julien Bérard, Francois Bidard, Ben Gastauer, and Matteo Montaguti rounding out the squad.

Nans Peters will be the sole new signing to debut at the French Etoile de Bessèges stage race in early-February.

Sondre Holst Enger and Mathias Frank also make their AG2R-La Mondiale debuts on French soil in February at La Méditerranéenne with fellow new signing. Oliver Naesen to start his season a week later at Tour du Haut Var. Classics specialist Stijn Vandenbergh makes his AG2R-La Mondiale debut at the Tour of Qatar where Julien Duval and Rudy Barbier will also make their first appearance in the blue and white kit.

With its teams confirmed for its first nine races of the season up to the Abu Dhabi Tour, AG2R-La Mondiale also announced the first riders for the opening weekend of the classics at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 25) and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (February 26).

AG2R-La Mondiale for the Tour Down Under (January 15-22): Jan Bakelants, Julien Bérard, Francois Bidard, Ben Gastauer, Matteo Montaguti, Domenico Pozzovivo and Clément Chevrier. 

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race (January 29): Jan Bakelants, Julien Bérard, Francois Bidard, Ben Gastauer, Matteo Montaguti, Domenico Pozzovivo and Clément Chevrier.

GP Marseillaise (January 29): Samuel Dumoulin, Hubert Dupont, Cyril Gautier, Alexis Gougeard, Pierre Latour, Alexandre Geniez, Oliver Naesen and Alexis Vuillermoz.

Etoile de Bessèges (February 1-5): Axel Domont, Samuel Dumoulin, Hubert Dupont, Quentin Jauregui, Pierre Latour, Christophe Riblon, Nans Peters and Alexis Vuillermoz.

Tour of Qatar (February 6-10): Gediminas Bagdonas, Nico Denz, Alexis Gougeard, Hugo Houle, Rudy Barbier, Julien Duval and Stijn Vandenbergh.

La Méditerranéenne (February 8-12): Romain Bardet, Mikaël Chérel, Cyril Gautier, Quentin Jauregui, Christophe Riblon, Sondre Holst Enger, Mathias Frank, Alexandre Geniez and Nans Peters.

Tour du Haut Var (February 18-19): Mikaël Chérel, Samuel Dumoulin, Alexis Gougeard, Pierre Latour, Oliver Naesen, Stijn Vandenbergh and Alexis Vuillermoz .

La Provence (February 21-24): Jan Bakelants, Julien Bérard, Francois Bidard, Hubert Dupont ,Rudy Barbier, Clément Chevrier and Alexandre Geniez.

Abu Dhabi Tour (February 23-26): Romain Bardet, Mikaël Chérel, Axel Domont, Cyril Gautier, Domenico Pozzovivo, Christophe Riblon, Sondre Holst Enger and Mathias Frank.

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (February 25): Nico Denz, Hugo Houle, Quentin Jauregui, Julien Duval, Gediminas Bagdonas

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (February 26): Gediminas Bagdonas,Nico Denz, Hugo Houle, Rudy Barbier, Julien Duval, Stijn Vandenbergh

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