1. It all starts with a divorce
The Breton team was born… after a divorce. Associated with Fortuneo, a subsidiary of Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, since 2016, the Loudéac-based company Vital Concept managed by Patrice Étienne is ending its partnership with Emmanuel Hubert’s structure just a few days before the start of the Tour de France 2017. own wings. In its June 1 edition, Le Télégramme, reveals that a new Breton team will be launched in 2018 by Jérôme Pineau, then a young retiree from the pelotons. Her name ? VitalConcept. She has professional Continental status, and has the VCP Loudéac as a reserve.
2. In Coquard’s wheel
Based in Theix (near Vannes), the first Vital Concept team is made up of 21 runners and is led by sprinter Bryan Coquard, a Direct Énergie defector and close friend of Jérôme Pineau. The Bretons Johan Le Bon, Erwann Corbel, Julien Morice are also part of the adventure in the Glaz color jersey where they pedal alongside the Swiss Patrick Muller, the roller Corentin Ermenault or the promising Tanguy Turgis. During its first season in the pelotons in 2018, Vital Concept won eight victories (three via Coquard) including a stage of the Four Days of Dunkirk and the Tour of… Sharjah, the team’s very first success. A team that stands out in the cycling landscape with unprecedented communication.
3. B&B Hotels and Rolland arrive
The formation welcomes a new title partner and becomes Vital Concept-B & B Hôtels during its second year of existence. B & B Hotels, named after the hotel chain created in Brest in 1990. The team is also moving up a gear in its recruitment: Pierre Rolland (EF Education), former double French champion Arthur Vichot (Groupama- FDJ) and Cyril Gautier (AG2R La Mondiale) disembark. The team won 13 races, eight with the fast Bryan Coquard, four with Lorenzo Manzin. Like the previous year, she did not obtain an invitation for the Tour de France.
4. First Round
Vital Concept-B & B Hôtels becomes B & B Hôtels-Vital Concept in 2020. But in terms of results, that’s not it: the Breton team only wins four races (including a stage and the general classification of the Tour de Savoie , an open event) in all and for all. Even before the start of the season, she nevertheless won her greatest victory: a first wild card for the Tour de France. On the biggest race in the world, she holds her rank: Pierre Rolland, 2nd in Sarran, and Bryan Coquard, 3rd in Lavaur, offer her two stage podiums. “The record is very good,” says the manager of the Men in Glaz, as they are called. The seduction operation is successful. “We played our role, that of an offensive team without complex. We showed our values of combativeness and self-sacrifice. We are now known to the general public”.
5. On the Champs-Élysées podium
This time, it’s downright the Champs-Élysées podium that awaits the B & B Hôtels team (Vital Concept will disappear from the naming in 2021). Thanks to Franck Bonnamour, recruited from neighboring Arkéa-Samsic during the offseason. The Lannionnais, former European champion among juniors, is crowned Super combative of the Grande Boucle in 2021 (ahead of a certain Wout van Aert). In terms of results, the departure of Bryan Coquard (for Cofidis) is nevertheless felt: the Breton team must be satisfied with six successes including four on the Tour of Rwanda. But the Elysian podium erases everything.
6. From dream to nightmare
Three stage victories (one on the Tour of Rwanda, two on the Alpes Isère Tour): this is the starving record of the first part of the 2022 season for the team managed by Jérôme Pineau. Who goes up to the front several times. And who clashes! “Some of my runners put me to shame…. If I could, I would buy out some contracts so they go. Some have taken themselves for champions”, balances the one who, behind the scenes, is actively working on the future of the team in the company of the businessman Didier Quillot, former boss of Orange and former executive director general of the Professional Football League.
On the evening of the arrival of the Tour, on July 24, Pineau caused a sensation by announcing that the City of Paris had decided to associate his name with that of his team. For a large-scale project that brings together a professional men’s structure, a women’s team and an academy of young riders.
“The ambition for the men’s pro team will be to be on the Tour podium in the medium term. The ambition is to reach the World Tour very quickly with the dream of seeing one of our riders win the Tour on the Champs-Élysées. As for the women’s team, we have already recruited twelve athletes and we will be aiming for the Tour podium next year. The idea is to have 28 runners for men and a dozen for women. For the Youth Academy, we will work in Brittany but also in the Paris basin, ”reveals Pineau. We then talk about a budget oscillating around 20 million euros thanks to the arrival of a major partner and the arrivals of Cavendish, former teammate of the Nantes manager, Matthews or even Schultz, while the women’s team should be articulated around ‘Audrey Cordon-Ragot, the double champion of France.
The dream turns into a nightmare: the press conference scheduled for the day before the presentation of the Tour de France 2023, on October 26, is canceled in disaster and on November 16, Jérôme Pineau admits in the columns of the Telegram that he still has not no leading partner. “The current budget is not sufficient to hope to evolve at the level where we hope. I remain optimistic but the future of the team is threatened. We now know the sad result.
letelegramme Fr Trans