By Shane Stokes
AG2R riders and staff have reacted with satisfaction to the news that the team has secured the 20th and final ProTour licence for 2006. Although the UCI has said that it will hold off on making an official announcement until the official period for appeal has elapsed, the French squad stated yesterday that the governing body's licensing commission had approved its application, granting a four year licence to the team.
"This is a great satisfaction [for us]," said AG2R manager Vincent Lavenu. "We've reached our goal after two years of effort from our sponsors and our team. Our tenacity was rewarded today. AG2R-Prévoyance will head into the 2006 season with both motivation and optimism, guided by two leaders who are determined to excel at the big events."
Director of communication and AG2R secretary general Yvon Breton was similarly upbeat. "The ProTour licence decision is great news, and is a victory for both our business and the faithful partnership we've formed with Vincent Lavenu over almost ten years," he said.
"We welcome the decision taken by the UCI which we awaited impatiently, even though we were serene and confident. On one hand, we knew that our application was solid and on the other, our sporting results from the past few seasons plus the quality of the reinforcement of our team for 2006 seemed to be major pluses towards our selection to the level of the world elite."