Oui ou non? D-Day for BBox Bouygues Telecom team
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Friday, September 24, 2010

Oui ou non? D-Day for BBox Bouygues Telecom team

by Shane Stokes at 6:00 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Successful French squad awaits decision which will save or sink the team

Thomas VoecklerJean-Rene Bernaudeau and the riders of the BBox Bouygues Telecom team will today learn if their efforts to secure a sponsor for next year have been successful, or if the French squad must disband. The team has just one chance left at securing sponsorship and many fingers are crossed that the company involved will recognise the value of what has been a very successful team.

“I have only one option, the negotiations are completed. I now await the response. By Friday evening things will be determined,” he told l’Equipe yesterday.

The popular French team has clocked up almost 20 wins this season, more than many other teams. The list of victories include two stages in the Tour de France, thanks to Thomas Voeckler and Pierrick Fedrigo, as well as stages in races such as Paris-Nice, Critérium International, the Three Days of De Panne, the Giro d’Italia and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

Other notable successes include the French road race and time trial titles, overall success in the Critérium International and the recent ProTour GP de Québec, where Voeckler pulled off a superb solo move.

It seems hard to believe that such a successful team, which hasn’t had a whiff of any scandals, could run aground at a time when others with a contentious background are getting multi-million Euro backing. That’s why many observers are hoping that something is found and the riders can continue on together into the future.

Bernaudeau has said he has done what he can, and it is now up to the company in question. “I have made many attempts, forty eight in one year and with three big overseas sponsors,” he said. “Nothing came from that. Now I’m awaiting a response. A team of our size only lives with sponsorship. We had a very good season.

“Everything depends on a vote by a board of directors. The days when we would say ‘good or bad, everyone will talk about us’ are over. Businesses are not buying only the space, they now want to convey real values."

He has been running a team since starting with Bonjour in 2000. Eleven seasons later, he knows that it would be a tough blow to the riders if things were to fold, particularly as many of them have waited rather than jumping ship. “If it stops, I will think first of all the people who work with me. And of Voeckler, who started with us and remained faithful.”


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