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August 10, 2020
Photography by Gruber Images
Belgian Classics specialist Greg Van Avermaet and Michael Schär from Switzerland will be leaving CCC at the end of this season to join AG2R La Mondiale, which will become AG2R Citroën, on three-year deals.
Van Avermaet, 35, is the reigning Olympic gold medallist in the road race (Rio 2016) and will depart from CCC after 10 years with the team.
The Belgian, who has won Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem, and E3 Harelbeke, will still be targeting victories in both the Classics and Grand Tour stages with his new team.
“I am happy and motivated to start a new adventure. I have just spent 10 beautiful years in the structures of Jim Ochowicz and I am embarking on a new challenge,” Van Avermaet said.
The announcement of the signings came shortly after it was announced Ag2r’s Grand Tour star Romain Bardet would move to Team Sunweb for 2021.
With the threat of CCC folding next season, van Avermaet said that he had no choice but to look for other teams.
“I’ve given my manager the green light to look at other teams. I have no options in this team anymore.” he told Sporza last week.
Ag2r’s signing of Van Avermaet and Schär bolsters their Classics team, currently led by Oliver Naesen.
Van Avermaet said, “I have just spent ten beautiful years in the structures of Jim Ochowicz and I am embarking on a new challenge. I am happy that Vincent Lavenu [Ag2r team manager] has shown such confidence in me, and I intend to give my best in order to achieve great results. 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.”
Team manager Vincent Lavenu said: “Greg is a great champion, showing incredible consistency at the highest level. His experience, his rigor, his hard work will be important in our development project.
“He will be an example for all our young riders. His bond with his friend Oliver Naesen, with whom he sometimes trains with, will be an added advantage.”
“Michael is one of the best teammates in the world. He will be invaluable in protecting our leaders, whether in stage races or in the classics. He is also a very good time trialist. He will be a pilot fish whose experience will contribute a great deal.”
Schar added: “I’m very excited to begin writing a new chapter in my career. I was won over by the sports project presented by Vincent Lavenu, who is a true cycling enthusiast.”