Hutarovich, Appollonio debut for Ag2r at Santos Tour Down Under

Belarusian rider Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ-BigMat)

Belarusian rider Yauheni Hutarovich (FDJ-BigMat) (Image credit: Isabelle Duchesne)

Ag2r La Mondiale will keep their record of having appeared at every Tour Down Under intact when they take on the Adelaide WorldTour event in January, 2013.

"As the race celebrates 15 years in 2013, it will be great to have Ag2rLa Mondiale here alongside us commemorating this milestone as they have been with us every step of the way," said race director Mike Turtur.

The French outfit has claimed the most overall wins of any team, although all were prior to the stage race gaining UCI WorldTour status, with Martin Elmiger in 2007, Simon Gerrans in 2006, Mikel Astarloza in 2003 and Gilles Maignan in 2000.

In 2013, the team will be spearheaded by Belarusian sprinter Yauheni Hutarovich in his first outing for the squad having moved across from FDJ. The 29-year-old has 23 wins to his name, including two stages at the Tour de l'Ain this year.

"In 2012 I came close to a stage win and this year my goal is to achieve that, to get at least one stage victory," said Hutarovich with two podiums to his name in Clare and Victor Harbour. "My experience in this race is an important asset and a stage win will help me to start the 2013 season well. That is very important for self-confidence."

Hutarovich was third in this season's points classification.

Another of Ag2r's new recruits, Davide Appollonio, will also be making the trip to Adelaide in 2013, in his first race away from Team Sky.

Meantime, Mickaël Cherel is Ag2r's general classification hope.

"The main goal for us at the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under will be to get at least one rider in the top 10 overall. I know I'm able to achieve this goal and I'm preparing myself for that," said Cherel. "I finished 10th overall in 2009 and I hope to get at least this rank and why not obtain an even better result. The overall classification should be determined on Willunga Hill that we climb twice."

The Tour Down Under begins on January 20 with the traditional criterium before resuming with six stages from the 22nd.


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