Thursday 10 January 2008 at 20h20

Originally published on wednesday 09 January 2008 at 20:54:00

After the Dutch bank Rabobank, today the French bank Caisse d'Epargne presented its cycling team for 2008 at the head office of the bank in Paris. As I mentioned a few days ago already the Spanish team with a French sponsor didn't have many new things to present but this was the first time we saw all riders of the new team together.

UPDATE 10 January 2008: added information on new elements for the team plus the official Caisse d'Epargne team photo

The Caisse d'Epargne cycling team for 2008 is composed of 26 riders with an average age of 27 years. The team still remains pretty Spanish with 16 Spanish riders, 6 French riders, 2 Columbians, one Venezuelan and one Russian.

The team still also has the two Spanish champions for 2007 among its riders: Joaquin Rodriguez Olivier for road and Iván Gutierrez for the time trial.
The official Caisse d'Epargne 2008 team photo taken in Caisse d'Epargne's head office
The official Caisse d'Epargne 2008 team photo taken in Caisse d'Epargne's head office; click on the photo to see the original version (big)

With the 4 new French riders and only 3 French riders who left the team there's still one more French rider than last year.
  • the new riders:
    - Mathieu Drujon who comes from Auber 93 (France, 1 February 1983)
    - Anthony Charteau who leaves Crédit Agricole after two seasons (France, 4 June 1979)
    - Fabien Patanchon who comes from Francaise des Jeux (France, 14 June 1983)
    - Arnaud Coyot who was free to go from (France, 6 October 1980)
    - José Rujano Guillen also from (Venezuela, 18 February 1982)
    - Rigoberto Uran again from (Colombia, 26 January 1987)
    - Luis Pasamontes Rodriguez, the last rider from (Spain, 2 October 1979)
    - Marlon Alirio Perez Arango who currently changes team every year and leaves Team Universal Caffe for Caisse d'Epargne (Colombia, 10 January 1976)
  • Nicolas Portal who sees his brother Sébastien leave the team for Cofidisthe riders who left the team:
    - Marco Fertonani fired after having been tested positive on doping
    - Eric Berthou who will be at the Vélo Club de Paris ... better known as Crédit Agricole in 2008
    - Florent Brard who will be at the Cofidis team in 2008
    - Sébastien Portal who leaves his brother (photo), also to go to Cofidis
    - Vicente Reynes who thought leaving for T-Mobile but that has become Team High Road in the mean time
    - Ruben Plaza who joins the Portuguese team Benfica
    - Aitor Perez who will be at the Spanish team Extremadura in 2008
    - Constantino Zaballa who will be in Portugal at MSS
    - Alexei Markov
    - Vladimir Efimkin who joins the French team France Cyclisme, in 2008 better known as AG2R La Mondiale
Apart from the new riders there are not much changes for the team:
- the team's official bike is still a nice Pinarello in the colours of the bank, a Pinarello Prince
- the shirt also remains pretty much the same with as far as I can see only the white border of the sleeves and the two white stripes from the collar of the shirt which have become red (again).
Caisse d Epargne 2008 cycling team, © Caisse d Epargne
Caisse d'Epargne 2008 cycling team, © Caisse d'Epargne, picture taken on 14 December 2007


The ambitions of the team

Charles Milhaud, CEO of the Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne, gave the team's two major ambitions: win the Tour de France (as if that's easy! ;-) and make the things that made this sport this popular more important again (compared to doping). He also said that the difficult period the cycling sport is currently going through should not take over the real nature of this fascinating sport which asks a lot of work, sacrifices and courage.

With these nice words and such an ambition the riders - and especially Alejandro Valverde whose main targets this year are the Tour de France and the Olympic games - probably feel a certain pressure and their fans have all reasons to support them!

The Tour de France and other multi-stage races remain most important for the team, starting with the Tour Down Under in a few days.

At the end of the presentation the journalists who assisted to the presentation didn't have any questions for the riders, so Daniel Mangeas, who has become famous as the Tour de France's official speaker, who presented the team asked the question for them.

Alejandro Valverde thus confirmed that after his 6th place in the Tour de France in 2007 (at 11'37' behind Alberto Contador) he might climb on the stand this year even though the Tour de France remains one of the most difficult races to win. Nicolas Portal - who posed for the picture between Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Pereiro Sio (the only three riders wearing there cycling clothes; the other riders had their Hugo Boss costumes) - was happy to be at that place but did feel the pressure it put on him to be between those two leaders ...

What's new on the website?

On the site the pictures and interviews with the new team have already been published. The team presentation video is now also available in Le Club > Les vidéos. New this year is the video-interview for all riders and that's a nice addition to the site ... although I would not give the riders a moving chair anymore next time: they really can't sit still ;-)!

Nicolas Portal again managed to mention his jars of Nutella because when they asked him about the car of his dreams he answered: 'The car I have now is quite good: a 4x4 which offers enough place and which allows me to go anywhere and to do some crazy things in the mountains and on the beach. Add to that a big container which offers enough place for my jars of Nutella, my bike and my tent.' ! In his previous interview he already answered the question about children by saying that he didn't have children, 'but I'm currently on a 3 kg jar of Nutella which takes a lot of time to finish already ...'. I think it's clear: he's definitely addicted to Nutella :-) !

In their interview Mathieu Drujon, Imanol Erviti and Rigoberto Uran say that they don't have nickname yet (just like Alejandro Valverde by the way whose name in the pack is simply Alejandro Valverde) ... maybe their team mates can find one for them!

Most riders say the power of this team is the real team spirit and the fact that they really see each other as friends.

On Iván Gutierrez' page there's a tiny error in his date of birth and that suddenly makes him two years older ... For Alberto Losada the team doesn't really know yet in which month he was born and José Rujano suddenly became Columbian instead of Venezuelan!


The other sponsors

Concerning the other sponsors, the team loses Le Coq Sportif and wins Most as a new sponsor providing the handlebars. The other sponsors are:
> Pinarello for the bikes
> Nalini for the cycling wear
> Volvo for the team cars
> Giro for the helmets
> Hugo Boss for the official suits
> Campagnolo for the wheels
> Elite for the bidons (and probably also bidon holders)
> Fuensanta for the mineral water
> Deda
> Selle Italia for the saddles
> Polar for the heart rate monitors
> Continental for the tyres

door Thomas Vergouwen
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this publication is published in: Marketing | Cycling general (except Tour de France) | Team presentation 2008


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