AG2R-La Mondiale has completed its spring classics campaign bolstered by “one of the most versatile bikes on the planet”, which contributed to victories and consistent podium showings across some of the most treacherous and challenging pave in Europe.
The French team animated every race, starting with Belgian Oliver Naesen’s third place at E3-Harelbeke. Naesen was later primed to contest line honours at the Tour of Flanders but was denied the opportunity after being caught in a crash with world champion Peter Sagan as well as Greg Van Avermaet on the Oude Kwaremont.
“I was riding too close to Sagan and I could not avoid him when he crashed. I’m disappointed because I was one of the four strongest men in the race,” he said after ultimately finishing 23rd.
The 26-year-old proved to be the backbone of the outfit’s classics squad in the absence of the injured Jan Bakelants, and openly praised the Factor O2 throughout the series of brutal one-day races. Mechanical precision is pivotal in the spring classics and teams are known to test bikes and key specifics over the cobbles well in advance. Factor could cater for those nuances as early as the design phase at our Engineering Centre.
Tour de France runner-up Romain Bardet took over the helm during the Ardennes with a sixth -place finish at Liege-Bastonge-Liege, which Domenico Pozzovivo finished just outside the top 10 in 12th.
Pozzovivo had rode to third overall at the preceding Tour of the Alps in which teammate Matteo Montaguti won a stage.
“After going seven years without a victory, it is fantastic to win this stage and to take my first victory while wearing an AG2R-La Mondiale jersey,” Montaguti said.
AG2R-La Mondiale will commence its Grand Tour season at the Giro d’Italia, which starts Friday.
“My sensations are good considering the week I had at the Tour of the Alps, which was very difficult with five stages,” Pozzovivo said. “The team certainly had a good day [at Liege] with our collective performance. Romain was the fixed goal, and personally finishing in 12th place I am satisfied. It bodes well for the Giro.”