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Barguil steps down to Fortuneo-Oscaro for chance to step up

French climbing sensation Warren Barguil is moving down to step up for the coming three years.

With Sunweb building a GC team around Giro d’Italia champion Tom Dumoulin, the recently crowned king of the mountains at the Tour de France is joining a small French team with big ambitions.

Barguil and BMC Racing’s veteran domestique Amael Moinard will join French Pro Continental squad Fortuneo-Oscaro for three seasons. Team manager Emmanuel Hubert said other WorldTour-level arrivals will be announced in the coming days.

The team promises to have the resources and ambitions to build a team around the 25-year-old Barguil.

“I am very honored to join the team. I’ve watched them grow over the past four seasons,” Barguil said. “Emmanuel understands that I want to stay with the image that I projected during the past Tour, to let me express myself in my natural attacking spirit.”

Barguil, who survived the harrowing crash last year with Sunweb on a training ride, said the fact that the team is based and backed by the Brittany region was an additional plus in making the move.

Hubert said he has the backing from sponsors to sign more quality riders as well as additional coaching and staffing to bring the team to a higher level.

“We have strong backing from our sponsors, who want to see us win races at the international level,” Hubert said. “Warren will be able to count the full support of the team and staff who have been waiting for the chance to support a big champion of his standing.”

The team did not suggest it would immediately try to make a bid for a WorldTour license, but the presence of Barguil would assure the team would receive invitations to race at most of the major events that it would want to target. The team has already had a long presence in the Tour de France.

Barguil leaves Sunweb after five seasons with the team, during which he won two stages at the 2013 Vuelta a España and finished eighth in the 2014 Vuelta. Despite a heavy crash at the Tour de Romandie, he enjoyed a breakout Tour this year, winning two stages, finishing 10th overall, and winning the most combative prize in Paris.

Barguil is the latest in a growing string of recent French success stories in the peloton. With Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and Thibaut Pinot (FDJ), the French will have plenty to cheer for in next year’s Tour.

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