Ag2r La Mondiale chasing fifth overall win in Santos Tour Down Under
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Ag2r La Mondiale chasing fifth overall win in Santos Tour Down Under

by Conal Andrews at 8:19 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Squad will include 2009 national title holder Dimitri Champion

Dimitri ChampionAg2r La Mondiale, the lone French ProTeam in 2011, will next month aim for what would be its fifth overall success in the Santos Tour Down Under. The squad is the most successful in the history of the race and has put together a team that it wants to challenge for stages and the overall in the UCI World Tour event.

Ag2r picked up its first overall victory in the race back in 2000, when Gilles Maignan came out best. It triumphed again three years later when the Spaniard Mikel Astarloza won, then Australian Simon Gerrans won on home soil in 2006. Swiss rider Martin Elmiger triumphed the following season, raising its win tally to four. It is a record that still stands today.

“For the 2011 race, Ag2r is fielding a strong line-up of seasoned riders such as Blel Kadri and Mikael Cherel who both competed here last year with different teams,” said race director Mike Turtur. “The 2011 roster will also feature a new recruit Steve Houanard from the Skil-Shimano team, and Dimitri Champion, the 2009 French National Road Race Champion.”

Irishman Nicolas Roche is the usual leader of the squad, but he will be aiming to be in peak condition for the Tour de France, and so he has opted not to start racing so early.

Even without the Irishman, Turtur believes that the team will present a very strong challenge. “We are delighted that a high calibre team like Ag2r La Mondiale is making its way back to Adelaide for the Santos Tour Down Under. It is the only team to have competed in all thirteen editions of the Santos Tour Down Under and they’ve got an impressive record, having produced the most overall winners of the race.”

The squad picked up the SA Brilliant Blend Team Classification earlier this year.

The 2011 edition of the race will run from January 16 – 23. It is the first event on the UCI’s World Tour series, and will consequently feature each of the 18 ProTeams.

Several big name riders have already been confirmed, including top sprinters Mark Cavendish (HTC-Highroad), double race winner Andre Greipel (Omega Pharma Lotto), 2009 champion Allan Davis (Astana), Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Cervélo), Francesco Cicchi and his Quick Step team-mate, the former world under 23 champion Andre Greipel. Lance Armstrong (Team RadioShack) will also take part, riding his last international race.


Ag2r la Mondiae for Santos Tour Down Under 2011:

Julien Loubet (France)
Mikael Cherel (France)
Kristof Goddaert (Belgium)
Blel Kadri (France)
Dimitri Champion (France)
Yuriy Krivtsov (France)
Steve Houanard (France)

Team manager: Laurent Biondi


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