Fortuneo-Oscaro has announced the signing of Warren Barguil for the 2018 season. The Breton was still under contract with Team Sunweb, but had talked of his desire to move to a French team in recent weeks.
Barguil enjoyed a hugely successful Tour de France, winning two stages and the king of the mountains title, and placing 10th overall. By the time the race reached Paris, Barguil was already heavily linked with a move to either Fortuneo-Oscaro or Jerome Pineau's new team, which is expected to be backed by Vital Concept.
The 25-year-old Barguil turned professional with Team Sunweb (then Argos-Shimano) in 2013, but had spent some time as a stagiaire with Fortuneo-Oscaro's precursor Bretagne-Schuller in 2011. Barguil says that joining the squad will allow his natural temperament of an attacker to come to the fore, and highlighted the importance of joining a Breton team.
"I am very happy to join the Fortuneo-Oscaro team," Barguil said in a team press release. "I have watched the team's rise in recent years and as the last Tour de France shows that there is a very solid collective, and individuals capable of taking us to very beautiful places at this level of competition.
"Emmanuel Hubert has the ambition to make the team grow with a project that I find it exciting, consisting of looking for results in the biggest international races, while maintaining this 'family' state of mind. Emmanuel understood how I wanted to work in the image of what I was able to do on the last Tour de France: to let my natural temperament of an attacker speak.
"The project we have together is in the medium term, so we will work step by step and do not change the things that worked well. In addition, when I joined Fortuneo-Oscaro, I joined a team with Breton DNA. Needless to say, that counts a lot too."
Tour de France success sparks transfer talk
Barguil's season was disrupted by a fractured hip he suffered at the Tour de Romandie in late April. He was able to return to action at the Criterium du Dauphine, but the lack of training was evident as he rode to 30th overall. He suffered early in the Tour de France, but a second place on stage 9 – separated by a photo finish – behind Rigoberto Uran, was a sign that he was finding his legs ahead of the mountains.
His ride on stage 9 was enough to put him into the polka-dot jersey, which he kept for the remaining two weeks of the Tour de France. His disappointment about coming so close to his first Tour de France stage win disappeared quickly with a win in Foix on stage 13 and another on the Col d'Izoard on stage 19. Despite having a contract with Team Sunweb for 2018, his success sparked a lot of interest in Barguil but he and the Fortuneo-Oscaro team did little to quash the rumours, sidestepping questions about his future.
Fortuneo-Oscaro was one of the most aggressive teams at the Tour de France. While there were no stage wins for their efforts, Élie Gesbert – the youngest rider in the race – did earn the team the most aggressive prize on stage 10. General manager Emmanuel Hubert said that Barguil's approach to racing will fit in well with the team's values.
"It is a tremendous pride for the entire Fortuneo-Oscaro team to see the arrival among us of a great champion like Warren. He will be able to count on all the desire and the collective strength of a team that has long been waiting to support a strong leader, able to win the biggest races at the international level," said Hubert.
"We share, Warren and us, the same values of humility, fighting spirit and generosity that are essential to win, because in cycling, success is always collective. Warren is also from Brittany; Brittany is proud of its roots and is ready to conquer new territories."
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