AG2R Citroën manager Vincent Lavenu has set high targets for his squad heading into the 2022 season, with the Frenchman ambitious for a Monument victory and a competitive rider in the general classification of the Grand Tours.
The French team enjoyed a relative amount of success last year, finishing eighth on the UCI World Ranking after some strong performances. The team's most notable victories came on the three Grand Tours, with Ben O'Connor winning stage nine of the Tour de France, Clément Champoussin triumphing on stage 20 of the Vuelta a España, and Andrea Vendrame crossing the line first on stage 12 of the Giro d'Italia.
Geoffrey Bouchard also won the mountains classification of the Giro, but Lavenu expects an even better showing in the new campaign.
Speaking to L'Équipe, the AG2R Citroën manager said: “We have great potential.
“The 2021 results have been very good with stage wins in each of the three Grand Tours, but we want to do even better this year. We would like to move up one or two places in the world ranking and win more races. We are aware that this is our weak point as we do not have world class sprinters."
Lavenu continued, expressing his desire to win one of cycling's most prestigious races while highlighting the ability riders in his squad posses.
"We want to win a Monument.
“This year Greg Van Avermaet, Bob Jungels, Dorian Godon and of course Benoît Cosnefroy have the potential to do it. You need the right circumstances, but I believe in them. Cosnefroy can win a race like Liège-Bastogne-Liège. He can beat Julian Alaphilippe, he's already done it."
Referring to Cosnefroy pipping world champion Alaphilippe to the finish line at the Brittany Classic, Lavenu emphasises the team's potential. As a result, he expects a competitive rider for the general classification of at least one Grand Tour, after Ben O'Connor's fourth-place finish in the 2021 Tour de France.
While placing his hopes on the strong Australian rider, Lavenu suggests young riders Aurélien Paret-Peintre and Clément Champoussin can also make a breakthrough in the new year.
He said: “Their potential is very high, but we don't want to put any pressure on them. We are going to let them grow at their own pace.”
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