Bernaudeau upbeat on new backer

Brioches boss Jean-Rene Bernaudeau has no new sponsor to announce yet, but says he has four eager to

Brioches boss Jean-Rene Bernaudeau has no new sponsor to announce yet, but says he has four eager to
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Although Brioches La Boulangre team manager Jean-Ren Bernaudeau has yet to confirm he has a new sponsor lined up to take over when BLB withdraws at the end of the season, he has admitted to L'Equipe that he has several options available and is confident one of them will pan out in the next few weeks. "I am sure that we will be ready for next season, but I'm not going to press the issue. I want to make the right choice," said the BLB team manager, who admitted he has four different options to consider. Having previously made clear he was determined to join next season's Pro Tour, a commitment too expensive for BLB to contemplate, it must be assumed that Bernaudeau's options all cover this objective. Of course, Bernaudeau's chances of finding not only a replacement sponsor for Brioches but also one with the ability to make more cash available can only have been helped by his team's stellar performance at the Tour de France. Eleven days in the yellow jersey for Thomas Voeckler more than compensated for the lack of a stage win, especially given Voeckler's gritty performance and emergence as France's new cycling hero to replace the rather tarnished Richard Virenque. As opposed to recent years, Bernaudeau says that potential sponsors now want French riders on their proposed rosters rather than bought-in foreign stars. With 11 French riders already signed up, Bernaudeau is in a strong position, although he still needs another 14 names to fill the 25-man roster required of Pro Tour teams. Hopefully, one of the names will be that of Mickael Pichon, who crashed badly at the Dauphin Libr in June and is still immobilised in a hospital in Nantes. Despite Pichon's injuries, Bernaudeau has already offered him a contract for next season. Four other BLB riders seem likely to sign up for Bernaudeau's new team. However, there is some doubt about whether team leader Sylvain Chavanel will join them. He is reported to have received offers from a number of other teams, including US Postal, Quick Step, Cofidis and Phonak, although Bernaudeau's negotiations with Chavanel are ongoing and may well be concluded this week.
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