Greg Van Avermaet's arrival marks new departure for AG2R in cobbled Classics

Greg Van Avermaet and Oliver Naesen in action at the 2019 BinckBank Tour. (Image credit: Getty Images)

The press releases landed within minutes of one another on Monday morning, and the centre of gravity of with AG2R La Mondiale - to be called AG2R-Citroën in 2021 – shifted accordingly. The departure of Romain Bardet to Team Sunweb is offset by the arrival of Greg Van Avermaet from CCC Team, but the Belgian is very obviously not a like-for-like replacement for a man who has twice placed on the podium of the Tour de France.

For a quarter of a century, the month of July has been the raison d’être of Vincent Lavenu’s squad. For 2021, the team’s emphasis looks set to move to April and the cobbled Classics, where Van Avermaet will join his friend and training partner Oliver Naesen. The duo that might receive further reinforcement in the coming days with Bob Jungels as a rumoured transfer target.

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.