Romain Bardet could be the next major Grand Tour star to change teams at the end of the season.
The Tour de France hopeful is expected to leave Ag2r La Mondiale, having spent his entire career with the French WorldTour squad, according to L’Equipe. (opens in new tab)
Bardet, 29, is has come close to Tour victory on multiple occasions but has not quite reached his goal of becoming the first Frenchman to win the yellow jersey since Bernard Hinault in 1985.
According to French media, Ag2r boss Vincent Lavenu plans to redesign his team around new leaders as Pierre Latour, tipped as another potential Tour winner in future, is also expected to leave the team.
Lavenu told L’Equipe: “I'm not scared of what's going to happen, if one rider or another was to leave. We're looking after the future of the team. We have a project, and big ambitions.”
Bardet has been closely linked with Sunweb, as the German-registered team tries to rebuild its Grand Tour roster after the departure of Tom Dumoulin.
Latour is rumoured to be stepping down a level to join Total Direct Energie.
With Chris Froome leaving Team Ineos after a decade, Bardet would be another huge star changing teams in pursuit of Tour victory.
Bardet has ridden with Ag2r since 2012, having come through the team’s development programme.
Having ridden the Tour on seven occasions, he has taken two podiums and another three top-10s. He has never finished outside the top 15.
Bardet’s closes attempt at winning the yellow jersey came in 2016 when he finished second behind Froome, 4-05 down on the four-time winner.
He followed up in 2017 with a third-place finish, 2-20 down to Froome again.
Froome will also be on the move as he looks for a secure leadership spot at the Tour de France with Israel Start-Up Nation.
The Brit has been with Team Ineos, formerly Team Sky, since the British WorldTour team was founded in 2010.
But as Team Ineos principal Sir Dave Brailsford banks on 2019 Tour winner Egan Bernal for the future, Froome is leaving the team to chase a record-equalling fifth yellow jersey.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1