The French cyclist Victor Lafay, who has been pivotal since his professional debut in 2018 with Cofidis, is set to don the AG2R Citroën jersey from next year. During an interview with L’Équipe, the 27-year-old expressed his decision to shift allegiances, a move that had been speculated for some time due to his ending contract and the manager Vincent Lavenu’s keen interest.
Despite not yet being officially announced by AG2R Citroën, Lafay has candidly acknowledged the impending transfer. His performance in this year’s Tour de France was particularly noteworthy. He delivered Cofidis their first stage victory in the prestigious race since 2008 with a win in San Sebastián, casting a spotlight on his talents.
Following this Tour triumph, multiple teams began to inquire about Lafay’s services through his agent, former cyclist Christophe Le Mével. These inquiries came because Lafay’s contract with Cofidis was nearing its conclusion. INEOS Grenadiers had been in discussions with Lafay for quite some time and were considered the leading option for securing his signature. However, suddenly, four more WorldTeams showed interest in the French puncheur.
Ultimately, Lafay’s history with AG2R played a significant role in his decision. Starting out as a young rider within the AG2R structure, these roots seemingly influenced his choice to return, even though INEOS Grenadiers was previously favoured.
Financial Implications of Lafay’s Move
The French newspaper Le Parisien had already reported that Cofidis made an assertive effort to keep Lafay. They presented a lucrative offer to renew his contract with an annual salary of 1.5 million euros. Yet, Lafay chose to part ways, preferring the offer from AG2R Citroën. At his new team, it’s rumoured that he will earn just over one million euros per year.
The revelation about Lafay’s salary sheds light on the financial dimension of cycling transfers and the significant sums that are involved in retaining or acquiring top talent. It appears that for Lafay, the combination of a return to his roots and a handsome salary offer proved a more appealing proposition than staying with Cofidis, even with their substantial counteroffer.