Pro Tour forces Boulangere out

Sylvain Chavanel and his BLB team-mates may be on the move after their sponsor announce they are lea

Sylvain Chavanel and his BLB team-mates may be on the move after their sponsor announce they are lea
The Brioches La Boulangre baking company has announced today (Thursday) that it is going to withdraw from backing a pro cycling team at the end of the current season. A statement released by the company says that it cannot accommodate the increased costs of team sponsorship that will be demanded to form part of the Pro Tour in 2005. The team regretted having to make the decision after "a very good 2003 season and a 2004 season that is also very promising, but an analysis of additional budgetary requirements for 2005 have led us into taking this decision." The statement expands on the main reason behind the decision, saying: "In effect, according to the new regulations, our investment would have to increase by 40% on the 2004 season (we would have to have a roster of 28 riders rather than the current figure of 20), and the administrative costs would increase in a similar way. "Of course the objective of the UCI Pro Tour is to provide sponsors with greater marketing potential, but that is beyond what is needed by our company with our smaller needs. It is consequently impossible for us to continue with this great adventure." BLB's decision provokes a number of questions, primarily whether team manager Jean-Ren Bernaudeau has another sponsor waiting in the wings. If not, the question then arises about the future of the team's talented roster of riders, particularly Joseba Beloki, who only joined the French outfit this year, Sylvain Chavanel and Didier Rous. Another question to ponder is how many other current sponsors might be considering following Boulangre's example because of the increased financial demands required to enter the Pro Tour next season.
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