Maxime Bouet has signed a two-year deal with Omega Pharma-QuickStep, bringing to an end his long association with AG2R La Mondiale. The 27-year-old, who is currently riding the Vuelta a España has been signed as key helper for Rigoberto Urán, although his new boss expects the Frenchman to develop into a winner as well.
"We are looking for riders who can stay with Urán in the mountains and for us Maxime fits that bill. My team directors are positive about this rider and his talents and that’s really important that they have confidence,” Patrick Lefevere told Cyclingnews.
“I hope that one day that Maxime can win stages in races like the Dauphiné or Pais Basque, but in the big tours he can be a very important rider for Urán.”
Urán’s race programme has yet to be finalised for next year, with the Colombian also riding the Vuelta a España. He finished on the podium in the Giro d’Italia in May and is seen as Omega Pharma’s main threat in Grand Tours.
“He can ride for a podium or top five in the Vuelta and from there we’ll make a programme for next year but nothing will be decided into the winter.”
Bouet it seems is a direct replacement for Wout Poels, who has told Lefevere that he will not re-sign for the team. Both Belkin and Team Sky have been linked with the rider.
“He has a lot of promise but had some bad luck this year with crashes. However he’s really motivated to join the team.”
“I’m happy about this deal,” Bouet said in a press release.
“Since I was young I looked at teams of Patrick Lefevere and dreamed of being part of his teams in the future, during my pro career. Now I will join the team in a time of professional maturity, when I can do the best things in my career. So, I’m excited. I will continue to develop in the future. In the next year my goal is to improve as a rider and also to try to be important in the strategy of the team, with riders like Rigoberto Uran and Michal Kwiatkowski. I will try and give my contribution to their success in the climbs.
"I will work hard during this winter and next year to try and be as good as I can in the mountains and improve my capacity there. I’d like to also thank my former team for the big opportunity they gave me in the last years. I had a great few years with them and want to thank them for their help. “
Another rider who will not be staying at Lefevere’s squad is Alessandro Petacchi. The Italian has been a key member of Mark Cavendish’s leadout train over the last season and a half.