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Just when you thought AG2R La Mondiale was done making big signings, the team has made yet another noteworthy addition in the form of Bob Jungels, who counts a Monument and two Grand Tour top 10s on his career palmares.
The 2018 Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner has been a key member of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step team since 2016, but he is joining the long list of notables heading to what will be known as AG2R Citroën in 2021. The AG2R team is bidding adieu to longtime star Romain Bardet as well as Pierre Latour this transfer season but it is welcoming Greg Van Avermaet and several others in a major retooling of its roster.
Jungels will join the team on a two-year deal.
“He will be one of the leaders of our team, in the Classics, but also in stage races,” said AG2R team manager Vincent Lavenu.
Jungels, 27, will bring versatility to AG2R’s dramatically improved Classics lineup. With Oliver Naesen in the lineup and Van Avermaet other reinforcements previously announced for next year, the team already looked set to be among the strongest contenders for the cobbled races. Jungels will be another asset on the pavé – he won Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne last year – while giving the team a proven winner in the Ardennes.
Jungels will also give his new team a featured rider for the Grand Tours. While he may not have the resume in three-week races to match that of the departing Bardet, Jungels’s strong combination of climbing and time trialing ability propelled him to sixth at the 2016 Giro d’Italia and eighth at the 2017 edition of the race.
Lavenu confirmed that the team plans to build around Jungels in the Grand Tours, saying, “we will assist him with our experience in this area and he will be supported by young climbers.”
Jungels’s arrival brings the team’s count of signings this transfer season to eight (so far).
Alongside Jungels and the aforementioned Van Avermaet, AG2R has also added Lilian Calmejane, Michael Schär, Marc Sarreau, Damien Touzé, Gijs Van Hoecke, and Stan Dewulf.
In a move not often seen for a rider departure, Deceuninck-Quick-Step released a statement on Tuesday announcing that Jungels would be moving on, thanking him for his time with the team.
“We would have liked to keep Bob and we’re a bit sad at the thought of his departure, but it is as it is, this is cycling,” said Deceuninck-Quick-Step manager Patrick Lefevere. “Bob was one of our best riders in the past couple of years, he brought many memorable results in Grand Tours but also in the Classics, where he netted our first Liège-Bastogne-Liège win after a dazzling long-range attack. He’s also one of the founding members of the original Wolfpack generation and he’ll forever have a special place here.”