AG2R-La Mondiale happy and relieved to retain its ProTeam status
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

AG2R-La Mondiale happy and relieved to retain its ProTeam status

by Ben Atkins at 10:22 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Sad to be the only French team in the top division and sees this as a warning against complacency

john gadretAG2R-La Mondiale was among the eighteen lucky teams to be granted ProTeam status by the International Cycling Union (UCI). The French team is pleased, as well as relieved to have kept its place in cycling’s top flight and looks forward, it says, to competing in all of the sport’s major events next year.

“We are relieved and proud to be selected to continue in the first division because we fought for it,” said team manager Vincent Lavenu. “Last year with our partners we followed our quest for ProTour license and we are very pleased to be confirmed among the world elite. Being demoted would have been painful for the team in light of the fact that our 2010 season has been pretty good.”

With FDJ losing its place in the top flight, and Cofidis being unsuccessful in its bid to rejoin, AG2R-La Mondiale is now the sole French ProTeam. When the ProTour was first created there were four French teams, now there is only one; Lavenu regrets this fact and treats it as a warning for his own team.

“I regret that other French teams do not join us in the first division,” he said. “We will feel a little lonely in the big international events where the other tricolore formations do not receive an invitation.

“Don’t forget that what happens today to other French teams may very well happen to us tomorrow,” he warned. “We must therefore remain vigilant and consider the future of our cycling. In any case, the French cycling should continue to defend its values and, over time, achieve the highest level.”

John Gadret, the best finishing Frenchman in this year’s Tour de France, is similarly relieved that the team has kept it’s place in the first division.

"[ProTeam status] is better for us,” he told La Voix du Nord. “ For the riders, the management and all the employees of our team. Without this license, we would not have as much access to the major races in Spain and Italy.”

Whether or not the team would be invited to next year’s Giro d’Italia without a ProTeam license, Gadret is not certain.

"I admit that I was thinking about it a bit lately,” said the Frenchman. “The organisers may prefer to invite teams from their own country.

“Could we ride a single Grand Tour in the season with a staff of 28 riders? What complications! I wouldn’t be in the same position as the guys from Cofidis."

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