(born 12 January 1956
) is a French
former professional road bicycle racer
and is currently the team manager of the UCI ProTour AG2R Prévoyance
Lavenu had been competing as an amateur in France for the Parisian amateur team La-Motte-Servolex and had been in contact with Jean-Pierre Danguillaume of the COOP-Mercier
team and Jean de Gribaldy
of the Skil Sem
team about becoming a professional but it was not until the autumn of 1982 when Pierre Rivory and Michel Nedelec turned the elite amateur team Pelussin into a professional team that they contact Lavenu with the offer of becoming professional. Lavenu was 27 years of age when he became professional with the Union cycliste Saint Etienne Pelussin team in 1983. As a first year professional, he crashed in the Dauphiné Liberé
and spent 8 days in hospital after which he could only compete several races at the end of the season. The Saint Etienne Pelussin team did not obtain the necessary sponsorship and retired from the professional peloton at the end of 1983. Lavenu found himself without a commercial team for the following two seasons but was able to continue to compete in professional races by wearing the jersey of the cycling union of France, the Union Nationale des Cyclistes Professionnels. This was not a commercial team but a team organized by Marcel Tinazzi
that enabled professionals who lacked commercial contracts to continue racing professionally.
Lavenu raced track events such as the six day track events. In 1986 he joined the Miko-Carlos team that fellow professional Jean-Francois Chaurin was setting up. This team also contained Régis Clère, Laurent Biondi and Frank Pineau. When the team was not selected for the 1986 Tour de France
, the sponsors decided to pull from the sport. In 1987 Lavenu joined the R.M.O. team
when Bernard Thevenet
was directeur sportif
. Lavenu won the first race of the season with his new team, the Ronde pyrénéenne. He joined the Fagor team
of Stephen Roche
and directeur sportif Patrick Valcke
in 1988 and 1989. He won a stage in the Tour of Portugal, finished fifth in 1988 Bordeaux-Paris
, seventh in the 1989 French national road race championships, seventh in the 1989 Route du Sud
. He rode the 1989 Tour de France
where he finished in 65th place.
In 1990 he became an individually sponsored professional which enabled him to race in both professional and amateur events. He won stage 3b of the 1990 Route du Sud. In his final year as a professional he rode for a very small Swiss team Mosoca where he helped organize the partial sponsor of his team, Chazal, and this led the way for Lavenu to form a small professional team with this sponsor the following year.
Career as Directeur Sportif and Team manager
In 1992 he started a professional cycling team with Chazal as the main sponsor from 1992 to 1995. In 1996 Petit Casino, a chain of coffee shops in supermarkets took over the sponsorship of the team. At this time the team was a second division team that relied on the public to sponsor the team. The team had the saying "Petit Casino- c’est votre equipe
" – it’s your team which signified this involvement of the public. In 1997 Casino, the supermarket chain that contained the coffee shops called Petit Casino, took over the sponsorship of the team and the budget increased substantially. Lavenu’s team could compete in the big races such as the classics. The insurance company Ag2r Prevoyance took over as the main sponsor in 2000. When the UCI
introduced the UCI ProTour
in 2005, Ag2r Prévoyance
did not obtain a protour licence but were granted such a licence in 2006.