Ag2r-La Mondiale announced the signing of Steve Chainel from FDJ-BigMat for the 2013 season. The Frenchman agreed a two-year deal with Ag2r and will bolster the team’s presence in the cobbled classics.
The 29-year-old Chainel joins Ag2r after spending two seasons with FDJ. He turned professional with Auber 93 in 2007, before switching to Bouygues Telecom ahead of the 2009 campaign.
Prior to turning professional on the road, Chainel had enjoyed considerable success in cyclo-cross, including fourth place in the 2006 world championships, and he has finished second in the French championships on three occasions since.
Given his grounding in cyclo-cross, it is perhaps no surprise that Chainel’s best performances on the road have come on the cobbles. A stage winner at the Three Days of De Panne in 2010, Chainel was a solid eighth-place finisher in Gent-Wevelgem in 2012 and has ridden consistently in the northern classics in recent seasons.
Ag2r-La Mondiale also confirmed on Tuesday that Sébastien Minard, Lloyd Mondory and Rinaldo Nocentini had each signed two-year contract extensions, while Guillaume Bonnafond had agreed a new one-year deal.
Vincent Lavenu’s team will lose Nicolas Roche to Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank in 2013, but the squad has been strongly linked with Colombian talent Carlos Alberto Betancur (Acqua & Sapone) in recent weeks.