Rudy Molard has signed a four-year contract extension with his Groupama-FDJ team, which will keep him at the French WorldTour outfit until at least the end of 2024, when the French climber will be 35.
In what has been a busy time on the French transfer market – or renewal market, at least – Molard joins Groupama-FDJ teammates Thibaut Pinot, Arnaud Démare, David Gaudu and Stefan Küng in having recently re-signed with the team, with his four teammates all having signed three-year extensions.
At fellow French WorldTour team AG2R La Mondiale, meanwhile, both Oliver Naesen and Benoît Cosnefroy have both recently been handed three-year contract extensions, while Alexis Vuillermoz has also signed a one-year contract extension.
"In cycling, four-year contracts are rare – almost non-existent," Molard said on the Groupama-FDJ website on Wednesday. "By doing this, the team has shown me how much confidence they have in me and in my potential.
"It also strengthened my choice to stay on the team," he continued. "Those who sign long contracts often have a quiet year or two and then get back to business the last year to [try to] renew. By offering me four years, they therefore take a risk in a way, but it mostly shows that they've got to know me really well and they know that I give 100 per cent, regardless of my contractual situation. It was a big mark of confidence from them."
Molard joined Groupama-FDJ in 2017 after five seasons with Cofidis. This season, he had already completed three stage races ahead of cycling's shutdown in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, finishing 19th overall at the Tour de la Provence in mid-February, followed by 13th overall at the Tour des Alpes Maritimes et du Var later that month.
The 30-year-old then rode strongly at Paris-Nice in March to take seventh place on the general classification – the same position he finished at the French stage race last season.
"I love my role in the team, and that's also why I didn't want to leave," said Molard, who is a key lieutenant for Thibaut Pinot at Grand Tours, but also gets to ride for himself at other races.
"I had opportunities elsewhere. I was offered a role where I would have had more responsibility during the year, but the challenge I was offered here with Thibaut made the difference," he continued. "I couldn't see myself riding without Thibaut, or riding for another leader, on a Grand Tour.
"I love the goal of going for a Grand Tour victory, of achieving something great, and I couldn't imagine myself doing it without Thibaut," Molard said. "I feel quite close to him and I couldn't imagine the rest of my career without him. We get along really well, I cherish my role with him and I didn't want to lose it.
"Of course, signing for four years is a very rare thing, especially at my age," he admitted, "but I firmly believe that my best years are yet to come."
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