Yesterday one of its highest-profile riders, Nicolas Roche, announced that he would be leaving the team at the end of the season to join up with Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, and Ag2R have moved quickly to appease fans with the signatures of these two promising young riders.
Appollonio joins from Sky after two seasons with the British-based team. The 23-year-old could become the fourth Italian at his new team should Manuel Belletti, Matteo Montaguti and Rinaldo Nocentini remain with Ag2R next year. He enjoyed a solid start to his career at Sky in 2011 by winning twice but has not managed to repeat that success this season. The sprinter remains a rider of potential and is a potentially useful addition to the Ag2R ranks.
Betancur hails from Colombia and joins Ag2R having seen a proposed move to Liquigas-Canonndale not materialise earlier this year. Also 23, he moves to the French team from Acqua & Sapone. Betancur turned pro in 2011 and immediately turned heads with a ninth place finish at the Tour of Lombardy and victory at the Giro dell’Emilia. This season he won the Trofeo Melinda and he is seen as part of a golden generation of young Colombian cyclists that also includes Appollonio's former Sky teammates Sergio Henao and Rigoberto Uran.