Twenty-two-year-old Canadian Antoine Duchesne will join the WorldTour alongside three of his fellow Bontrager development team graduates in 2014 when he dons the green kit of Team Europcar.
Duchesne's signing with the French team was made official today upon the confirmation from the UCI that the team would be awarded a two-year WorldTour license. Riders gather tomorrow in Spain for their first team training camp.
Duchesne, the U23 Canadian champion, made himself known at the Tour of California this year by going on a gutsy solo escape on the final stage to Santa Rosa, and then again at on stage 4 of the Tour of Alberta, where he attacked and bridged to the breakaway, only to be out-gunned in the end by Cadel Evans, who won the stage. Duchesne earned the most aggressive rider's jersey.
“I am truly happy to have been able to sign with Europcar, especially in a year like this one with so many teams leaving. It’s almost a dream to reach the top level like this; I’ve been working at this goal since forever," Duchesne said in a press release.
The Quebec cyclist joins his current teammates Nathan Brown (Garmin-Sharp), Lawson Craddock (Argos-Shimano) and Jasper Stuyven (Trek Factory Team) in heading straight from the Continental ranks to the WorldTour.
“We are happy to welcome Antoine to our team for 2014 and 2015. We had heard about him several times over the past two years and began more serious negotiations with him during our visit in Quebec last September for the Quebec and Montreal Grand Prix Cyclistes. Louis Garneau and Serge Arsenault had nothing but praise for this young Quebec cyclist, whom they qualify as one of the most promising Canadian cyclists of the year. Antoine is a versatile rider and will be an asset to the team,” said Europcar manager Jean-René Bernaudeau.
Team Europcar will have its official team presentation on February 25, 2014, and will begin the 2014 season at the Tour of Gabon on January 13.