AG2R La Mondiale extends sponsorship through 2020 - News Shorts

New Deutschland Tour will debut in August 2018 as Deutschland Deine Tour, Bak and De Gendt extend with Lotto Soudal, Klein Constantia trio sign for Etixx-QuickStep

AG2R La Mondiale extends sponsorship through 2020

French WorldTour team AG2R La Mondiale announced Tuesday that the team's title sponsor has extended its partnership through the 2020 season, providing four years of security for director Vincent Lavenu and France Cyclisme, which owns the team. The company has sponsored the team for 19 years.

"We are happy to extend our partnership with Vincent Lavenu and his cycling team, whose riders embody perfectly the AG2R La Mondiale values of solidarity and performance," said Andre Renaudin, AG2R La Mondiale managing director. "Once again, we stand firmly by their side to continue together on an adventure that has always brought us memorable moments."

So far in 2016, the team has taken five wins, starting with Jan Bakelants' victory during stage 4 at La Méditerranéenne in February. Cyril Gautier added to the list at Paris-Camembert. San Dumoulin added the last three wins at French one-day races. Star climber Romain Bardet is currently sixth overall at the 2016 Tour de France after finishing second last month at Criterium du Dauphine.

Lavenu said he was happy to have earned the trust that AG2R La Mondiale showed in him and the team with this latest extension.

"AG2R La Mondiale have been with is since 1997, and since 200 they have been our main sponsor through good times and bad," Lavenu said. "Our relationship surpassed the professional framework a long time ago. On the back of this commitment through to 2020, we'll be able to continue our mission and remain faithful to our values of professionalism,high performance and conviviality that we hold so dear."

Extra gear packed in a AG2R rider's pockets.

New Deutschland Tour will debut in August 2018 as Deutschland. Deine Tour

The Amaury Sports Organisation used the second rest day of the 2016 Tour de France to release more details about the new Deutschland Tour, which will debut in August of 2018 as the Deutschland. Deine Tour. The inaugural edition will run for at least four days, according to today's announcement, and the ASO, which has committed itself to organise oat least 10 editions of the race, says it will work to expand the race to one week within this time.

"Germany is a nation of new champions, and it became the country with the most wins at the Tour de France in recent years," said ASO cycling director Christian Prudhomme. "We feel that these successes are of great value and that the German cycling interest is increasing steadily. Therefore, we are looking forward to the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2017 in Dusseldorf and we see the Deutschland Tour as a great continuation. It’s just the right time to organize a modern national tour that involves all fans." 

After the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2017 in Dusseldorf, the start of the new Deutschland Tour in 2018 will be the next step in the long-term commitment of ASO on the German market.

"Germany is of great potential. Besides the momentum in the sport of cycling it’s also Europe’s biggest cycling nation, totaling in almost 25 billion kilometers ridden on bicycles per year," said Yann Le Moenner, Directeur Général of the ASO. "Several cities and prospective sponsors approached us already, to become part of the new Deutschland Tour. That proves that Germany is ready for a bike festival."

Lotto Soudal extend with Lars Bak and Thomas De Gendt

Lotto Soudal have announced a two-year contract extension for Lars Bak, and a three-year extension for Thomas De Gendt. Both riders are currently riding the Tour de France where De Gendt won the stage to Mont Ventoux and has enjoyed two stints in the king of the mountains polka dot jersey.

Team manager Marc Sergeant explained his pleasure to have secured the services of the duo who he described as vital members of the squad.

"The extension of the contracts of Thomas and Lars is a logical choice," Sergeant said. "Both have been living up to the expectations. We already talked with Thomas before the Tour de France. He got integrated really fast. Thomas is always keen to work for his teammates, but he can also have a go of his own on many occasions. He brings spectacle and publicity and he has already set nice results. His performances at this Tour only confirms what he's capable of and I'm glad he'll be staying with us for another three years."

De Gendt, 29, joined the team last season after one-year with Omega Pharma - Quick-Step and three seasons with Vacansoleil - DCM before that.

"It was already obvious to me during the spring that I wanted to stay with Lotto Soudal. I can be myself in this team," De Gendt said. "The sports directors know that I love to ride for my teammates when they have a chance to win and in some stages or races I can join a breakaway. Last year I showed myself in Paris-Nice and also at the Tour, despite a severe crash. This year I could win for the first time in three years, at the Volta a Catalunya. My victory on Mont Ventoux and the six days in the polka dot jersey are a highlight in my career. I hope to continue in the same way this season and in the years to come."

For 36-year-old Bak, the contract extension is likely to his last, although he added he may seek another contract afterwards, and explained he is happy to remain with the team he joined in 2012.

"I am really happy that I can stay with Lotto Soudal for the next two years," Bak said. "The past five years I saw the team developing. I hope to continue playing my role in the team. We already set some excellent performances like this year's Giro and last year's Tour. It would be wonderful if I could further contribute to that success in the next two years. When the contract ends, I will be 38 years. That doesn't mean it will be the end of my career. If I still feel good, I might keep cycling. I am really motivated to defend the Lotto Soudal colours for two more years."

Etixx-QuickStep sign three neo-professionals for 2017

Belgian WorldTour team Etixx-QuickStep have announced the signing of three neo-pros for the 2017 season with Rémi Cavagna, Enric Mas and Maximilian Schachmann all agreeing terms. The trio all sign from the U23 Etixx-QuickStep development squad Klein Constantia.

"We believe in this approach with the young riders and we invest in it thanks to the support of Etixx – Quick-Step team owner Mister Bakala, who was enthusiastic about this project since the very beginning", Etixx-Quick-Step CEO Patrick Lefevere said. "We already had great results thus far: Alaphilippe and Vakoc, who are at the Tour de France, and Wisniowski, who rode the Giro d'Italia, were part of this great project. Our approach is not centered around the results the young riders achieve, but on their margin of progression, their capacity to become good World Tour riders and on their personality. We believe that Rémi, Enric and Maximilian can lead the "second wave" of talents of our green project. The young generations are the future of our sport and we are excited to have them in the team for 2017 and beyond."

Mas, 21, has enjoyed a successful season with overall victories at Volta ao Alentejo and Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc and most recently second at the Giro Ciclistico della Valle d'Aosta Mont Blanc and represents the new wave of Spanish GC cyclists.

Cavagna, 20, is also a GC prospect with the Frenchman taking the win at Tour de Berlin 2016, ahead of Schachmann, and enjoyed a stage win at Volta ao Alentejo.  At 22, Schachmann is the oldest of the trio to join Etixx-QuickStep and can also ride for the general classification. Schachmann has also shown his talents against the clock by taking the German U23 title last month and was second at the U23 time trial at the 2015 World Championships in Richmond.

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