Bardet to move to Sunweb for 2021

Bardet to move to Sunweb for 2021

The German team, now without Grand Tour Winner and Team Leader Tom Dumoulin are apparently looking to sign the French climber.

According to reports in the Dutch media, the AG2R La Mondiale team leader Romain Bardet has been linked with a potential move to German squad Team Sunweb.  The team are the prime suitors for the 29-year-old in 2021, with several other teams also interested in snapping up his services.

Tom Dumoulin left Sunweb for Jumbo-Visma last winter, and young GC talent Sam Oomen could also be heading for the exit.  That would leave a gap in the roster for a lead climber at the young squad, which Bardet looks to be the front runner for, according to De Telegraaf.

Sunweb, who signed German teenager Marco Brenner, who will join the team for the 2021 season on a four-year contract, seem to be looking to the future with their latest signings.

The 17-year-old will join an increasing youth movement at the German-registered WorldTour squad, which signed up seven neo-pros for 2020 and has an average age of 25.  Uno-X youngster Andreas Leeknessund will also join the team next year.

After losing Tom Dumoulin to Jumbo-Visma, Team Sunweb currently have Michael Matthews, Tiesj Benoot and Sam Oomen as team leaders.

The Newspaper reported that team boss Iwan Spekenbrink has already submitted an offer to Bardet, one of the top climbers on the market this off-season. 

Both Trek-Segafredo and Mitchelton-Scott are reportedly among the other teams interested in the Frenchman, who has been with AG2R since turning pro there in 2012.

Bardet's agent Joona Laukka told De Telegraaf:

"Yes, Romain is interested in going elsewhere, but nothing is recorded. Neither with Sunweb, nor with other teams," 

"It's quite easy to write down the names of the teams he might go to. They are teams with a strong ethic, even if you can never be 100 percent sure of all the riders.”

AG2R Team boss Vincent Lavenu is expected to offer the two-time Tour de France podium finisher a new contract, but he said that he understands Bardet's desire to look elsewhere, too.

"Romain was in our development squad in Chambéry. He grew with us and helped us grow," Lavenu told L'Equipe. "I consider that our story isn't over yet. There are still some very beautiful pages to be written together."

"But I understand that after two difficult years he wants to look at what is being offered to him from elsewhere."

That said, its fairly normal for French riders to stick fairly strongly with French-based teams, so its entirely possible Romain will opt to stay with the Chambéry-based squad.

Bardet will return to the Tour de France this year, having originally been down for the Giro d'Italia before COVID-19 drastically altered the 2020 season. The Frenchman has also expressed an interest in tackling Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders for the first time, with both races coming in late October in the revised calendar.

Bardet is among the biggest stars on the market this winter, when the likes of Chris Froome and the Yates brothers are also out of contract. 

Read our post on the top 10 riders on the transfer-market here