Patrick Gretsch has signed for the next two seasons with Ag2r-La Mondiale. The German joins Ag2r from Argos-Shimano, where he played an important part in the team’s sprint lead-out train over the past two years.
A strong rouleur, Gretsch was twice a medallist in the under-23 world championships time trial before entering the WorldTour with HTC-Highroad in 2010. He has claimed five victories in the professional peloton, including the prologues of the Ster ZLM Toer (2011), USA Pro Cycling Challenge (2011) and the Ruta del Sol (2012).
Grestch finished second behind his former Highroad teammate Tony Martin in this year’s German national time trial championships. As an amateur, Gretsch raced for the same Thüringer Energie Team as Martin, Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb.
“I took note of Patrick Gretsch last year, above all thanks to his strong performances in the time trial at the 2012 Tour de France [where he finished 6th in the final time trial in Chartres – ed.],” said Ag2r-La Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu, who envisages that Gretsch will play a flexible role on the team.
“He’s a rouleur with excellent qualities as a time triallist but he is also capable of leading out sprints and helping his leaders to stay positioned near the front. We’ve been on the lookout for a rider with this kind of profile and he will be an additional trump card for the team next year.”
Ag2r-La Mondiale has been active in the transfer market in recent weeks, having already confirmed the arrival of Europcar pair Damien Gaudin and Sebastien Turgot to bolster its presence at the cobbled classics in 2014. The team has also extended the contract of young talent Romain Bardet through to the end of 2015 but released John Gadret, Anthony Ravard, Valentin Iglinskiy and Manuel Belletti.