This year is the 27th consecutive season for the team created by Vincent Lavenu in 1992. And the amazing story still goes on! The oldest French squad still in the peloton has had three main sponsors throughout its lifetime: Chazal, Casino and Ag2r. It has been known as Ag2r–La Mondiale for a decade. It has featured 24 times in the Tour de France, where it has been a permanent fixture since 1997 with varying degrees of success, ranging from the fall from grace of its leaders Rodolfo Massi (1998) and Francisco Mancebo (2006) to the podium places of Jean-Christophe Péraud (second in 2014) and Romain Bardet (second in 2016 and third in 2017), as well as Rinaldo Nocentini's eight-day adventure in yellow in 2009.
This Savoyard team was founded in Chambéry and has been based there ever since. It owes local riders much of its lustre. Some of them come from Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, such as Sylvain Calzati, who won the stage to Lorient in 2006, or Cyril Dessel, who wore yellow and finished sixth overall the same year. Others are home-grown talents, such as Estonia's Jaan Kirsipuu, who stayed with Lavenu from 1992 to 2004, winning four stages and spending six days in yellow in 1999 in the process, as well as Picard Christophe Riblon, who started on the track and went on to win two mountain stages, in 2010 and 2013, an edition where he was awarded the Tour de France combativity prize, which also went to Romain Bardet in 2015.
AG2R La Mondiale, the winner of the team classification in 2014, has reaped the rewards of its training policy with the emergence of Romain Bardet, the leading French rider in the 2013 Tour (15th), sixth overall in 2014 after a stint in the white jersey, ninth in 2015 including a victory in the Alps and a stint in the polka-dot jersey (third place in the mountains classification, after Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana). The rider from Auvergne, who has won a mountain stage in each of the last three editions and again finished on the podium last year, has an outstanding university record and is one of the symbols of this team that combines sport and education in Chambéry.
Stage wins : 17
Secondary classification wins : 5
Yellow jerseys : 16
24: the number of Tour de France starts by Vincent Lavenu's team, a record among extant French squads.
5 July 1999: Jaan Kirsipuu, one of the original riders of Vincent Lavenu's team, becomes the first Estonian to wear the yellow jersey.
9 July 2006: on the day of the football World Cup final between France and Italy, the stage to Lorient is won by Sylvain Calzati, a French rider of Italian origins.
27 July 2014: At the age of 37, Jean-Christophe Péraud, mountain bike Olympic Silver medallist in 2008, climbs onto the final podium of the Tour de France one step below winner Vincenzo Nibali, and then climbs onto the top step with his victorious team!
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