French team Ag2r La Mondiale will return to Adelaide next month for its 17th appearance at the Santos Tour Down Under in 2015 - the only team to have competed in every event since the inaugural race in 1999.
The team has produced four overall event winners, as well as taking out the Winning Team Classification twice.
Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said a team with such a great history at the event would again impress fans in January.
“Ag2r La Mondiale is such a strong and competitive team, producing Santos Tour Down Under winners Gilles Maignan in 2000, Mikel Astarloza in 2003, Australia’s Simon Gerrans in 2006 and Martin Elmiger in 2007,” he said.
“The team sets solid foundations with their riders - look at the success Simon Gerrans has had since his first win in Adelaide. He’s the only rider to have won the Santos Tour Down Under three times.”
The only Italian in this otherwise all-French team, Domenico Pozzovivo is accomplished both on and off the bike. A stage victory on Stage 8 of the 2012 Giro d’Italia and an overall victory in the 2012 Giro del Trentino are career highlights as well as a university degree in economics.
Blel Kadri returns to the race after a career changing 2014 season, in which he claimed Stage 8 at the Tour de France, his biggest success to date. As well as the stage win, he took honours and won the Most Combative Rider award for the second time and held the King of the Mountains jersey for a day. 2008 Tour de France stage winner, Samuel Dumoulin also returns to Adelaide for the first time since 2007.
Ag2r La Mondiale team director Laurent Biondi said the Santos Down Under Tour is a beautiful race and has been very well organized since the very beginning.
“It’s the ideal race to start the season. All the conditions, including the hotel, the race, and the course are amazing,” he said.
“Our 2015 roster is ambitious with Domenico Pozzovivo, fifth in the 2014 Giro, Blel Kadri, stage winner in 2014 Tour de France and Christophe Riblon, winner of l’Alpe d’Huez stage in the 2013 Tour.”
Also in the team are Alex Domont, Julien Berard and Alexis Gougeard.
Visit www.tourdownunder.com.au for all event information.