AG2R La Mondiale is a household name in professional road cycling. The French-based UCI ProTour team has been in the sport for over twenty years, with its roots first established in 1992 by then-retired professional rider, Vincent Lavenu. The first sponsor, Chazal, saw the team through 1992 – 1995, with Petit Casino taking over from 1996 to 1999.
AG2R Prévoyance, an insurance company, began sponsorship of the team in 2000, and featured several big name riders such as Laurent Brochard and Jaan Kirsipuu. AG2R Prévoyance became AG2R La Mondiale in 2008, a name that remains to this day. The team is easy to spot with their distinctive kit, and being one of two teams to sport SRAM’s eTap electronic drivetrain…
At the 2015 Tour Down Under, several of AG2R La Mondiale’s bikes were photographed running a prototype version of the SRAM Red eTap system by the Gravel Cyclist, now a contributing editor to BikeRumor.
SRAM’s eTap system is no longer hush hush, after the system was finally brought to market in 2015 after many years of extensive testing. 2016 marks the first year the groupset is officially part of a pro-team line up with SRAM, Zipp and Quarq (also owned by SRAM), providing drivetrain, power meter, wheel and some cockpit components to AG2R La Mondiale.
This particular Focus Izalco Max is ridden by French rider, Alexis Gougeard, a third year professional with the team and winner of Stage 19 in the 2015 Vuelta a España.
If you notice, Alexis doesn’t have the stem slammed, and is using an 84 degree stem versus the flatter profile of a 73 degree stem, so common among riders in the professional peleton these days.
Unfortunately I don’t speak French, and was unable to ask the team mechanic any questions relating to the bike’s setup. However, a web image search of Alexis shows his preference for a slightly higher position towards the front of the bike.
The climbs of the Tour Down Under are not alpine Europe in length, and the Quarq power meter equipped SRAM Red carbon crankset reflects that, fitted with standard 53 / 39 chainrings.
Thanks to the properties of 11-speed drivetrains, a good spread of gears is possible on the rear cassette, without a huge jump in ratios between each of the cassette cogs. Visible in the photograph above and below, are the ports for wired electronic drivetrains, moot for a system like SRAM Red eTap.
For 2016, AG2R La Mondiale is rolling on Continental tires, and in the case of this bike, the Continental Force Comp tubular with Vectran technology in a 25mm width.
Fizik supplies saddles to the team,with the Arione VSX carbon-railed version finding its home aboard the bike of Alexis Gougeard. While most of the team’s bikes are fitted with the Fizik R1 carbon seatpost, Alexis’ bike features the Focus CPX Plus comfort seatpost introduced last summer.
Braking duties are capably handled by SRAM’s Red rim brake calipers, with cable routing kept simple beneath the top tube for the rear brake, and the standard configuration for the front brake.
Bottles are held in place courtesy of Elite’s Cannibal carbon cage, a design that allows bottles to be inserted from the sides as well as from the font, handy for racing situations.
The 2016 Tour Down Under kicks off on January 16 with the People’s Choice Classic, a street circuit race. Stage One begins on January 18 in the Adelaide suburb of Prospect, finishing in the South Australian country town of Lyndoch some 130.8 kilometres later. Expect to see AG2R La Mondiale in the action!
Photos and article by Gravel Cyclist.
Jayson O’Mahoney is the Gravel Cyclist: A website about the Gravel Cycling Experience.