Tony Gallopin and Alexis Gougeard are just two of six riders who have extended their contracts with AG2R La Mondiale, the team has announced. Gallopin and Gougeard are currently taking part in the Tour de France, where they're riding in support of French GC hopeful Romain Bardet.
Former Tour and Vuelta a Espana stage winner Gallopin and this year's Circuit Cycliste Sarthe winner Gougeard – who also won a stage at the Vuelta in 2015 – were joined on the French WorldTour team's list of riders re-signing for another two years by François Bidard, Julien Duval and Clément Venturini, while 35-year-old Belgian Stijn Vandenbergh has signed for one year.
"It's vital for the stability of the team that we extend contracts with riders whose strengths and talent are very important to us," said team manager Vincent Lavenu in a press release.
Eiking extends contract with Wanty-Gobert
Norway's Odd Eiking – currently racing the Tour de France – has re-signed with Wanty-Gobert for a further two seasons, the team has reported. The Pro Continental outfit was offered a wild-card place for the 2019 Tour, and has been active in breakaways during the first half of the race.
Eiking was part of the six-man breakaway on stage 10 on Monday, which was caught with fewer than 30km to go, on a day when a number of GC contenders lost time due to the crosswinds.
"I'm very happy to stay with Wanty-Gobert, where I've been welcomed as one of the family," said Eiking in a press release, with the 24-year-old having joined the team from FDJ in 2018, and won a stage at the Tour de Wallonie that same year. "I receive many opportunities for personal development and to continue practising my passion, and the atmosphere is excellent, which is very important.
"I want to continue to go well in this Tour the France, and am hoping to achieve a result on my way to Paris," he added. "Afterwards, I want to continue my progress in order to be able to try to win more often."
Villalobos completes mid-season move from Aevolo to EF Education First
As reported on Cyclingnews in September last year, EF Education First general manager Jonathan Vaughters and Aevolo director Michael Creed agreed on an unorthodox deal whereby the now 21-year-old Villalobos would remain with the team he joined in 2017 until mid-way through the current season, when the jump to EF would be completed.
"For a neo-pro, the hardest time of the season is always that first spring," Creed told Cyclingnews last year. "You're away from home, you're integrating into a new team and this is a jump up to a much higher level. It's colder, more aggressive racing. It kind of beats you up.
"Basically, the idea is just to shelter him a little bit more and let go of that pressure of trying to sign for a WorldTour team immediately and give him that stability," he explained.
After winning the best-young-rider competition and taking eighth overall at the 2018 Tour of Utah – and attracting Vaughters', and others', attention – the climber and time-trial specialist has effectively signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with EF, keeping him with the team until at least the end of the 2021 season.
"During the second half of the season, I want to give everything I have to the team and I want to race with all my heart," Villalobos on EF's website once his transfer was completed this week. "And I want to learn all that I can from my great teammates."
Dimension Data announce promotion of two riders to rebranded WorldTour team
Dimension Data have announced the promotion of two Italian riders from their Continental feeder team to the WorldTour outfit for 2020.
Dimension Data have signed 20-year-old Samuele Battistella and 20-year-old Matteo Sobrero, and the two young riders will be part of the team that is to be rebranded as Team NTT next year. Japanese telecoms company Nippon Telegraph and Telephone own South African brand Dimension Data, having bought the company in 2010.
Speaking of the move up from the feeder team to WorldTour level, 2019 under-23 Strade Bianche winner Matteo Sobrero said it was "a dream come true".
"At the same time, though, this is also a great starting point and the next phase of my career," the recently crowned U23 Italian time trial champion said. "I'm happy to take these next steps with the Dimension Data team, after already having been on the Continental team for two years, where I've learned and grown so much as a rider."
20-year-old Bagioli joins Deceuninck-QuickStep
Deceuninck-QuickStep have signed 20-year-old Team Colpack rider Andrea Bagioli on a two-year contract, starting in 2020.
The Italian caught the Belgain WorldTour team's eye after winning two stages and the overall classification at this year's Ronde de l'Isard under-23 stage race in France in May.
"When we spot a rider whose innate qualities and mentality catch our eye, we do everything that we can to sign him. This was also the case with Andrea, who we have been monitoring for some time now and whose results – especially on the climbs, where he has excelled – we've found to be extremely impressive," said Deceuninck-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere on the team's website.
"It was my goal to be a professional rider and knowing that I will be part of 'The Wolfpack' is fantastic. I'm extremely motivated to start my pro career and do my best next year to repay the confidence that Mr Lefevere and the team have put in me," added Bagioli.