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"A classics group is under construction and I'm glad to be part of it. I know I can take my chance in some races. I want to do well at the Tour of Flanders where I took 4th place two years ago."

Photo: Tim De Waele




04.08.2016 @ 12:06 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Ag2r have strengthened their team for the cobbled classics by signing Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-QuickStep) and Oliver Naesen (IAM).


The two Belgian riders are committed for two years.


"I am pleased WITH the confidence of AG2R La Mondiale," Naesen said. "This will be my first experience in a French team. The classics project pleased me and I'm happy to start this new story. I just finished my first Tour de France and I hope this will allow me to make the next step. In the future I dream about doing well in Paris-Roubaix. Unlike the Tour of Flanders where only a handful of riders can win, the Hell of the North can offer a lot more opportunities."


Last year Naesen won La Polynormande before joining the WorldTour and the IAM team.



Manager Vincent Lavenu said:


"Oliver is a promising rider who is very popular in the peloton. This year he has shown that he has the means to shine in the Flemish classics, including Paris - Roubaix (13th). He also just finished his first Tour de France in beautiful form. He will be a valuable asset in stage races. "

Vandenbergh joins the team after several years as a loyal domestique at Etixx-QuickStep.


"I spent a year in AG2R La Mondiale team in 2008 during my second professional season. I'm not going into the unknown with my signature and I thank Vincent Lavenu for his confidence," he said. "A classics group is under construction and I'm glad to be part of it. I know I can take my chance in some races. I want to do well at the Tour of Flanders where I took 4th place two years ago. After the spring, my job will be to protect the leaders in stage races. I like that part of my job."


Vandenbergh has been fourth in the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem and this year he was third in the Tour of Belgium and won a stage at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana. In 2007, he took overall victory at the Tour of Ireland.


Vincent Lavenu said:


"Stijn is known to be a big rouleur with an impressive physique. He is able to do a very big job at the front of the peloton but he also has a chance in the classics. He is built for the cobbled classics where he has done well. We can also count on him in the tricky stages during stage races where he will be there to protect our leaders. "

The AG2R team will have three Belgian riders in 2017, the two recruits Oliver Naesen and Stijn Vandenbergh and Jan Bakelants who recently extended his contract. Eight Belgian riders have worn the team colors of Vincent Lavenu since 1992.



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