The AG2R team has been in the UCI World Tour peloton since 2009, but has been involved in cycling in a broader sense since 2000. The current team is mainly made up of French riders, and AG2R always aims to do its best during the Tour de France. Although the team is always looking to win stages here and there, in recent years AG2R has been a serious contender for the best positions in the general classification. Here are the team’s most important riders.

The key riders at AG2R La Mondiale: Romain Bardet

Romain Bardet has become the best French hopeful at this year’s Tour de France. There has already been whisperings in the corridors of cycling power that the route of the Tour de France 2019 is particularly (suspiciously?) favourable to Bardet—there are a lot of mountains and very few time trial kilometres.

Bardet was 2nd in the Tour in 2016, and finished 3rd in the following year. He has won three Tour stages so far. He was also 2nd behind Alejandro Valverde during the road race at the UCI Road World Championships in 2018. In the 2019 season, he will once again concentrate on the Tour and in preparation will ride Liège–Bastogne–Liège and the Criterium du Dauphiné.

Romain Bardet in the Tour de France 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Samuel Dumoulin

Samuel Dumoulin (no relation) is a seasoned warrior. He is 38 years old and as such is the team’s veteran rider. His best performances were some time ago. In 2008 he won a stage in the Tour de France, in a three-man sprint sprint heading into Nantes by beating Romain Feillu. He prefers to ride the minor French races. During these, he usually manages to create some fireworks along the way, but often falls short in the final sprint. But by collecting a lot of racing points, he often features quite high up in the World Tour rankings and that in itself makes him important for the team.

Samuel Dumoulin during the Criterium du Dauphiné in 2016. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Tony Gallopin

Tony Gallopin seems to have been getting better and better in recent years. He can ride a decent general classification in Grand Tours, as he showed in 2018 with a decent 11th place in the Vuelta a España. He’s also good in the hilly classic races. He won the 2013 Clásica de San Sebastián and finished the same race in 2nd place in both 2016 and 2017. He has won stages in both the Tour de France and the Vuelta. In 2019 he will ride the Giro d’Italia for the first time and can bag a Grand Tour hattrick if he wins a stage.

Tony Gallopin winning a stage in the Vuelta in 2018. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Mathias Frank

Swiss rider Mathias Frank is a rider who mostly does well in minor stage races. He has booked good results in the past in Swiss races such as the Tour of Switzerland and the Tour of Romandie. But his best victory so far was a stage in the Vuelta in 2016. In 2019, he is riding the Tour of Switzerland and aims to ride the Tour de France after that.

Mathias Frank during the Clásica San Sebastian in 2017. Photograph: Cor Vos.

Oliver Naesen

Our final rider to watch out for in the AF2R La Mondiale team is the rising Belgian star Oliver Naesen. At 28 years of age he is relatively young, and seems to be making excellent progress. He regularly gets into the top ten of one-day races. In 2018 he was 4th in the Grand Prix of Montreal and 6th in Gent–Wevelgem. In 2019, he has already finished on the podium in both Milan–San Remo and Gent–Wevelgem. This season he is riding just about every classic race up to and including Paris–Roubaix and then he will set his sights on a stage victory in the Tour de France.

Oliver Naesen in the Tour of Oman 2019. Photograph: Cor Vos.