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by Mark Zalewski
August 5, 2016
In Friday’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Morton repeats Utah stage win a year later; Gonçalves impresses in Portugal sprint; Van Poppel doubles wins in Burgos; Why the Tour of California’s move to WorldTour could be bad for US cycling; ‘Dream signing’ Michael Matthews confirmed by Giant-Alpecin; Preview: What you need to know about the men’s road race at the Rio Olympics; Dennis crashes on Rio course recon; Roche: A fourth Tour win for Froome will be complicated; Contador testing climbing legs in Burgos attack; AG2R La Mondiale signs Naesen and Vandenbergh for two seasons; Kluge signs with ORICA-BikeExchange; Davis Phinney’s ’84 Olympics bike and the golden dream that almost was; Study: Bicycle laws, infrastructure marginalizes poor; Drink developed for military boosts cycling performance; Five Crazy Moments in Olympic Cycling History; Wiggins set for final Olympic chapter – part two; Queensland state velodrome construction time-lapse
Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling) and Stijn Vandenbergh (Etixx-QuickStep) have both signed with the AG2R La Mondiale team for the next two seasons, bolstering the team’s Classics squad along with fellow Belgian Jan Bakelants. Vandenbergh makes a return to the team he raced with in 2008, and has been close to big wins in the Spring Classics, with a second place at the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in 2013, and fourth places at the Tour of Flanders and E3 Harelbeke in 2014.
A determined Stijn Vandenbergh pushes hard during Paris-Roubaix.
“I already spent one year [on the team] during my second pro season,” said Vandenbergh. “Therefore, I am not taking a leap in the unknown and I would like to thank Vincent Lavenu for his confidence. They are building a competitive team for the Classics and I am glad to be a part of it. To me, I have some chances of success because I know very well those atypical races.”
“Stijn is an authentic rouleur with great physical abilities (see his personal presentation). He is able to work hard for the team but also to play his card. Moreover, his knowledge of the Classics is really valuable. He is made for the cobbled races.”
25-year-old Naesen is an up-and-coming talent, finishing 13th at this year’s Paris-Roubaix.
“I appreciate the team’s plan for the Classics and I am glad to begin a new story. I have just completed my first Tour de France and I think I have passed a new milestone. In the future, my dream would be to win Paris-Roubaix.