“I have a really have a strong history with the team of Jean-René Bernaudeau [manager of Total – Direct Energie]. They gave me the chance to turn professional and I can’t forget that. But after five years on the same team, I nevertheless felt the need for a new challenge, to discover new teammates, new material, and new races to win. I am really happy to start with AG2R-Citroën. I have the impression that I am beginning a new career.”
The move comes after a number of shifts on both teams. Longtime AG2R-La Mondiale leader Romain Bardet recently announced he will leave the team for the German Sunweb team, while up-and-coming rider Pierre Latour is moving to Total–Direct Energie.
And after years of focusing on stage racing, AG2R-La Mondiale is now shifting its attention to one-day races, as they also hired classics specialist Greg Van Avermaet. But while GVA is best in the cobbled classics, Calmejane is more suited to the hillier classics.
Calmejane, who has won stages in both the Vuelta a España and the Tour de France, is an aggressive, punchy rider who will fit in well with the AG2R-La Mondiale team and will bring a more improvisational approach to the team in stage races like the Tour, where they will now focus more on stage wins than the overall classification.
“I know that the team has a super dynamic and I cannot wait for this new challenge,” the 27-year-old said.