Romain Bardet will officially be joining Sunweb in 2021, the team have confirmed in a slightly unusual announcement.
The French Grand Tour star was rumoured to be on the move at the end of the season, with Germain WorldTour squad Sunweb the front-runner to sign Bardet.
But the transfer is now official, as Sunweb announced on Twitter on Monday morning (August 10).
The team posted a video a parody video of their riders’ Whatsapp group chat, in which Nicolas Roche adds Bardet to the conversation.
Bardet said: “When considering options outside my current team, it was really important for me to find a team that works progressively, involving the latest technology in equipment and other domains. I also wanted a team with a clear vision on the sport and one that is a member of MPCC [The Movement for Credible Cycling].
“At Team Sunweb I have the opportunity to start with no specific expectations or a specific race to target. Instead we will focus first on the basics and the fundamentals, working hard and with dedication to improve on all different areas as an athlete – after this we will look to race schedules and goals.”
The 29-year-old 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.
Bardet has ridden with French WorldTour squad Ag2r La Mondiale 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 Chris Froome, 4-05 down on the four-time winner.
Sunweb has been on the hunt for a new star rider in Grand Tours after Tom Dumoulin departed for Jumbo-Visma at the end of last season.
General manager at Sunweb Iwan Spekenbrink said: “We are very excited that Romain joins the team. He is a great rider who brings many possibilities, versatile qualities and a very respective palmarès. Our talks together have shown that he is very dedicated to give it his all and get the most out of his potential, and he is eager for our specialists to work with him to focus on improvements so that he can reach that.
“He will be a great addition for the team in a multitude of races; with him we strengthen our block of current options in the finales and tactically have multiple scenarios to try to win. It will be hard work, with some classics in the first part of the season and then we’ll assess and plan the next block, including deciding which grand tour to tackle, with which goals.”
Bardet added: “This opportunity comes at the right moment in my career and I am very motivated to start working with the team and its group of very promising riders. I want to express my thanks to my current team AG2R La Mondiale, who helped me to develop until now, my time with them will always have a special place in my memories.”