AG2R extends with three, lets four go

Julien Bérard, Ben Gastauer and Guillaume Bonnafond have extended their contracts with AG2R, the team has announced. However, according to media reports, four other riders, including John Gadret, will not receive renewals.

The three riders who are re-upping with the French WorldTour team are all graduates from the Chambéry Cyclisme Formation, AG2R's developmental team. They have all extended for another two years, through 2015.

Berard, 26, turned pro with the team in 2010. He has finished the Giro d'Italia twice but had to abandon after the seventh stage. He is currently riding the Vuelta a Espana.

Gastauer, 25, is also in the Vuelta. He rode the Giro as well, finishing 51st. He, too, has been with the team his whole career, starting in 2010.

The 26-year-old Bonnafond has been with AG2R since 2009. He rode the Giro as well. His most recent races have been the Tour du Limousin, where he finished 6th overall, and the Chateauroux Classic de l'Indre - Trophee Fenioux.

According to L'Equipe, John Gadret, Anthony Ravard, Valentin Iglinskiy and Manuel Belletti have all been told that their contracts won't be renewed.

Gadret is the biggest surprise. A two-time French cyclo-cross champion, his break-through road year was 2007, when he won the GP Kanton Aargau and the overall title at the Tour de l'Ain. He also showed promise in the Grand Tours, finishing 13th in the Giro and 19th in the Tour in 2010, before shooting up to a third place overall finish in the Giro in 2011, where he also claimed his only Grand Tour stage win in the 11th stage.

He was the center of controversy in the 2010 Tour, when he refused to give a wheel to team captain Nicolas Roche. “After the stage, I reminded (team manager) Vincent (Lavanu) that Gadret was on the team for another two years, and that I hoped he never asked me for anything again, because I would not forget today for a long time,” Roche said after the stage.

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