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Greg Van Avermaet moving to AG2R La Mondiale

Joseph Delves
10 Aug 2020

Belgian off to French team following two years at CCC

Greg Van Avermaet is off to French outfit AG2R La Mondiale next season. The 35-year-old Classics specialist is leaving his current outfit CCC Team having ridden for them for two seasons.

Before the name and sponsor change to CCC, Van Avermaet had spent the last eight seasons with the squad’s predecessor BMC Racing. Also managed by Jim Ochowicz, the move ends a decade long association between Van Avermaet and the American team boss.

Van Avermaet’s departure comes as Polish retailer CCC withdraws from sponsoring the squad citing a downturn in its sales due to coronavirus.

Olympic champion in 2016, the following year saw Van Avermaet dominate the Classics season, winning Paris–Roubaix, Gent–Wevelgem, E3 Harelbeke and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad to end the year as world number one on both the UCI World Ranking and UCI WorldTour.

Since then he’s taken stage wins and held the Tour de France's yellow jersey for several days, yet wins of the same magnitude have remained elusive. Still rarely far from the front of most races he enters, this year he’s finished third at the Gran Trittico Lombardo and eighth at both Milan–San Remo and Strade Bianche.

This consistent form means that despite his age, Van Avermaet was able to negotiate a three-year deal with AG2R La Mondiale. He’s joined in making the transfer by current teammate Michael Schär, who also joins on a three-year deal.

At this stage, the future of his former team remains in doubt. Manuela Fundación, which had previously been examining buying naming rights to Mitchelton-Scott, had been reported as considering stepping in.

However, with funding not secured by the opening of the transfer window on 1st August, this left Van Avermaet free to pursue other contracts.

Previously focused around supporting French GC rider Romain Bardet, AG2R La Mondiale has recently been strengthening its Classics squad, signing Belgians Gijs Van Hoecke and Stan De Wulf. Along with Schär, they'll join Van Avermaet’s sometime training partner and existing AG2R La Mondiale rider, Oliver Naesen.

‘I’m happy and motivated to start a new adventure, having spent 10 beautiful years in the structures of Jim Ochowicz,’ said Van Avermaet in a statement.

‘The prospect of working with Oliver Naesen, with the goal of winning Classics, is particularly exciting. My goal is always the same: to win races like the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix, stages of the Tour de France or wear the yellow jersey for as long as possible.'

Before swapping teams, Van Avermaet is slated to ride the Tour de France, along with the belated Classics season, including the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem.