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France

Cycling. B&B Hotels: the beginning of the end? – Cycling



Last-chance appointments, no more than the deadline granted jointly by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the National Directorate of Control and Management (DNCG) to submit a file in good and due form, have no Obviously nothing changed. The worst eventually happened. Inevitably, on December 2…

By videoconference, around 5 p.m., in a heavy climate that we can guess, Jérôme Pineau, completely defeated, announced to his runners that they could all start looking for another team. In other words, as things stand, he could not offer them a contract for 2023.

In 3rd division in 2023?

The Nantes manager, in desperation, also told them that he had a (probably infinitesimal) hope of keeping the B&B Hotels team in the pelotons (thanks to the reduction in payroll) next season. In 2nd division (ProTeams), even in 3rd division (Continental). Not sure that all his runners believed him. Not sure either that the B & B Hotels chain, which had agreed to significantly increase its contribution, would do so under such conditions.

Because whatever happens now, even if we are no longer within a twist of this rather incredible soap opera, the team created from scratch by Jérôme Pineau and his brother Sébastien in 2018 will not be invited to the start of the next Tour of France. And the Tour for a sponsor…

From dream to nightmare

The Tour de France, less than four months ago, Jérôme Pineau nevertheless spoke of it with relish. Particularly unhappy with the start of the season for his team (“some of my riders have shamed me”, he had dropped cash in our columns), he worked behind the scenes with the businessman Didier Quillot, former boss of Orange and former Executive Director General of the Professional Football League, in order to make it grow, and was convinced that he had achieved his ends. Even if it means denying his “glaz” identity.

On the evening of the arrival of the Grande Boucle, Jérôme Pineau, all smiles alongside Anne Hidalgo, had announced with great fanfare that the City of Paris was going to associate his name with that of his team. Without financial compensation, but with the assurance, at least he was convinced, that a major sponsor was going to embark on the adventure.

We were talking about a budget approaching 20 million euros, a workforce of 28 riders, the high-sounding arrivals of Mark Cavendish, with whom the general manager from Loire had raced at Quick Step, the Australian Michael Matthews (before his extension with BikeExchange , end of July), Dutchman Ramon Sinkeldam, the arrival of the American cycle brand BMC, the creation of a solid female structure (around Audrey Cordon-Ragot, the French champion) as well as a bike.

For what purposes? “The Tour de France podium in the medium term, the ambition to reach the WorldTour very quickly and the Tour de France women’s podium”. Just that !

Call for help

The dream turned into a nightmare. How did we come to this? Did Jérôme Pineau have eyes bigger than his stomach? Did he take his wishes for reality? “There were setbacks. Economic and social instability has prompted some companies to backtrack (Editor’s note: the names of Carrefour, Enedis, Amazone and even LVMH have been circulating), “he admitted, in mid-November, during a conference of press in a small committee which looked like a call for help. “The future of the team is threatened. I’m waiting for answers, I have five very serious leads, it could be the beginning of something or the end of everything,” he admitted, in a serious tone. We now know that this may be the beginning of the end. And how sad.

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