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The future of the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team will soon be decided!

Added: saturday 02 October 2010 at 16:04:00
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    The future of the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team will soon be decided!

    initially published on 27 September 2010 at 0.02AM, updated on 2 October at 4.04PM

    Europcar is the new sponsor ...

    more information at the end of this articleProbably no one missed out on Jean-René Bernaudeau having a hard time since a few months. All eyes of the cycling world are pointed to the team from the French Vendée department because of the doubts on the future of this team. New sponsor? End of the team? From rumour till rumour, from false news till denials, Bernaudeau's search for a new sponsor hasn't been easy the past year ...

    The search for a new sponsor

    It all started with the announcement of Bouygues Telecom ending its sponsoring in 2009 - sponsor since 2005. For the Vendéen (Jean-René Bernaudeau was born in the Vendée himself) it's out of the for the team to stop. This would indeed mean the end of an adventure which started in 2000 with the sponsor Bonjour. Bernaudeau thus starts his search for a new sponsor.

    Bbox Bouygues TelecomThe first positive news comes half July 2009 when Bouygues Telecom announces to continues its collaboration with the team in 2010 in case the negotiations won't have a positive result (if the team doesn't find a new sponsor) with an investment of 5.5 million euros (the same budget as in 2009). The future thus seems bright, even though Jean-René Bernaudeau continues his search for a new sponsor to secure the future of the team (fortunately because Bouygues Telecom will end funding the team in 2011).

    La PosteSeveral rumours pop up about companies which would take over the sponsoring of the Bouygues Telecom team. The first was La Poste which was announced by the sports newspaper L'Equipe as the new sponsor, possibly in collaboration with Bbox which announces at that time that if the team finds one or more main sponsors, Bouygues Telecom considers providing a minority contribution of 1 million euros for one year, but this information is immediately denied by La Poste.Total

    Total is the next to pop up, a rumour which apparently seemed to be true, but the company decides not to continue the negociations with the team.

    The latest developments of the past few days are that Jean-René Bernaudeau would have been contacted by two companies last Friday:
    • Caisse d'Epargneaccording to the newspaper Ouest France, Caisse d'Epargne would continue its cycling sponsoring after having ended the sponsoring of the Spanish structure (Abarca Sports) just before ... that doesn't seem to be very probable

      UPDATE 28 September: as expected a spokesman of Caisse d'Epargne announced there's no request for sponsoring currently being analysed.
    • while L'Equipe mentions a multi-national. Bernaudeau would have said that Thomas Voeckler's victory in the Grand Prix de Québec alerted this group on the fact that the team might soon disappear ... quite surprising that this multi-national takes no less than two weeks to find Bernaudeau's phone number?!

    What will be the future for Bernaudeau and his team?

    The days go by and the deadline is approaching fast (the team registration needs to be filed at the UCI at last on 30 September, that's next Thursday!). It thus becomes more and more difficult for the riders of the team to wait any longer and thus take the risk to let go a potential new team. Thomas VoecklerThomas Voeckler would have contacts with Cofidis and Saur-Sojasun and several foreign teams and recently declared no longer be able to wait another week. Since the team registrations also contain the list of riders a rider who doesn't have a team next Thursday would thus potentially not be able to start in 2011. Tonight Thomas Voeckler declared in Stade 2, the French sports programme on TV: since early this year when Jean-René started his search for a new sponsor I always told him he could count on me for his project, that I wouldn't let him fall. That's still the case. The difference now is that the time is almost up, especially due to the UCI rules, we have to know for sure this week. We thought we would know more last Friday. There's still a very short bit of time, let's hope that if we extend until the end there will be a positive outcome. I don't have a personal deadline but we can't wait for another 3 weeks because it will no longer be possible to find another team.
    My main wish is that Jean-René announces us tomorrow or the day after that everything's OK and that we'll continue. We believe in it even though time's going fast now. As long as there's hope, we believe in it
    .

    Bernaudeau however needs his main riders (Voeckler, Charteau, Rolland, Gautier) on his side as long as possible because without them the chance (which seems to be quite small anyway now) to find a new sponsor is nil.
    It seems to be surprising by the way that the team from Vendée has such a hard time to find a new sponsor. With its 18 victories this season (19 if we add Steve Chainel's in the cyclo cross), including two French Champion titles (Nicolas Vogondy for the time trial and Thomas Voeckler on the road, both in Chantonnay) and 2 victories (with Voeckler and Fédrigo) and the polka dot jersey (Anthony Charteau) in the Tour de France 2010, Tour de France 2011this hardly seems possible, as if it was only because the Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2011 in the Vendée seems to be incomplete without this team.

    This last element seems to play a role by the way in the past few days in the search of a sponsor. Philippe de Villiers, President of the Conseil Général de la Vendée, would indeed be very disappointed if the Tour de France 2011 would leave his departement without the local team. He would thus not only have promissed to take care of one third of the budget (estimated at 2 million euro for a total budget of 6), but would also have helped in finding a sponsor.

    Bbox Bouygues TelecomBernaudeau would have sent no less than 48 requests for sponsoring, but according to him: A team with the size of our team almost exclusively lives from sponsoring. We might have had a perfect season, everything depends on one vote in a company board. The time where we could say 'Whether it's positive or negative, as long as they talk about us' is over.

    The future

    Friday we still thought we had to wait until Monday night latest to know the future of the team. Tonight in Stade 2 however, we learned that Jean-René Bernaudeau will be in Paris on Tuesday and Wednesday to try to find a final agreement (with Caisse d'Epargne or the multi-national).

    In the mean time Bernaudeau keeps hoping in this race against the clock, even though he seems to consider the possibility that everything ends at the end of the year: If we're no longer here next year, I'll do everything to get back after 2011.

    To be continued ...

    Europcar as the new sponsor

    updateEuropcarupdate 2 October 2010: the French radio RMC announced yesterday night that Jean-René Bernaudeau had been contacted during the day by a company which proposed to become the last-minute sponsor of his team (as a reminder: the team should have filed its registration at the UCI yesterday).

    A few minutes ago it was announced that this company is Europcar and the car rental company would become the title sponsor for at least 3 years (2011/2012/2013).

    The only question which remains is whether Jean-René Bernaudeau had a derogation which allows him to file his team's registration with an additional delay? Indeed, the article 2.16.012 of the road rules of the UCI indicate that the registration must arrive at the UCI no later than the 1st of October! According to the newspaper Sud Ouest this is indeed the case: Bernaudeau would have negociated an additional delay until Monday.
    this article was written in collaboration with Marylène Evrard

    by Thomas Vergouwen
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    > 4 comments | shown 5626x

    this article appears in the following categories: Cycling general (except Tour de France)| Marketing | share on Facebook | delicious | twitter | Google | technorati

Comments

Currently 4 comments!
  1. Entre la quête du repreneur pour Bernaudeau et la fameuse équipe luxembourgeoise, deux dossiers délicats.
    Finalement, il pourrait y avoir plusieurs bons coureurs à recaser dans des formations au budget de plus en plus étroit.

    J'ai bien peur que pour Bernaudeau, la dernière chance soit une aide du Conseil Général de Vendée.

    La disparition d'une nouvelle équipe française serait un gros coup dur pour le cyclisme français.

    | david | tuesday 28 September 2010 at 10:31:12

  2. pour ce qui est de l'equipe des frere schleck j'ai un doute car j'ai lu un article qui disait que un des sponsors serait mercedes mais je croit que j'ai peu etre pas bien lu?

    | djo barbaud | saturday 02 October 2010 at 16:56:35

  3. Pour l'équipe des frères Schleck, Mercedes est effectivement annoncé comme un des sponsors mais il devrait en toute logique uniquement fournir les véhicules (voitures, bus, camion) de l'équipe. Je ne pense pas que ça soit le sponsor titre.

    Pour cette équipe une annonce devrait en toute logique venir très bientôt pour dévoiler l'identité de celle-ci.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | saturday 02 October 2010 at 17:26:01

  4. Tout le monde peut louer la volonté farouche de JR Bernaudeau et la fidélité de T Voeckler pour avoir sauvé l' équipe. On peut se poser la question du devenir du cyclisme trop tributaire de son financement aléatoire. En foot les clubs ont des sponsors mais surtout recoivent d' importants subsides de Canal+.
    Autrefois le TOUR ponctionnait les équipes participantes, ce que ne fait plus ASO mais elle pourrait les rétribuer, car elle touche des droits télé.

    | pascal51 | saturday 02 October 2010 at 22:06:25

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