French ProTour team AG2R-La Mondiale is currently finishing its pre-season training camp in Temple-sur-Lot in Southwestern France. The squad directed by Vincent Lavenu has 30 riders on its roster for the 2008 season, including eight newcomers. Amongst them also are the two new leaders of the team, Slovenian Tadej Valjavec and Russian Vladimir Efimkin, winner of the Lagos de Covadonga mountain stage in this year's Vuelta a España.
"It's important that the riders get to know one another as some of them will practically only see each other during the training camps," Lavenu told L'Equipe. "[Valjavec and Efimkin] have already integrated well. Valjavec already speaks French and Efimkin turns to his dictionary every day."
Besides the training rides and photo sessions, the team has to make important technical adjustments this year as AG2R changed its bicycle and helmet supplier. The French team will next year race on BH bikes, which is why all seven mechanics of the outfit are present in Temple-sur-Lot. As for the riders, only one is missing: René Mandri, who was operated on the iliac artery three weeks ago.