Sylvain Chavanel decides on pastures new in order to guarantee a ride in next season’s top races.
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Cofidis’ continuing commitment to pro cycling despite the recent doping scandals that have afflicted the French team has been underlined by the news that they are signing Sylvain Chavanel from Brioches La Boulangre. The news was reported in Sunday’s edition of L’Equipe, which stated that the highlt rated Chavanel had decided to move on from the team where he has spent his whole pro career so far to a team that has a guaranteed place in next year’s Pro Tour. Chavanel has signed a two-year deal with Cofidis, even though Brioches team manager Jean-Ren Bernaudeau stated earlier this week that he had four possible sponsorship partners to replace the outgoing Brioches marque. However, with Bernaudeau able to guarantee no deal as yet and certainly not one that will guarantee his set-up a place in the Pro Tour, Chavanel has decided to accept the Cofidis offer. Bernaudeau said of the news: “I’ve done all I can to make him stay but that’s life. The important thing is that we have parted as friends.” Bernaudeau might not be feeling quite so amicable if the rumours of several other Brioches riders following Chavanel turn out to be accurate. In other contract news, Rabobank’s Oscar Freire has agreed to stay with the Dutch team, which does have a place in the Pro Tour, until 2006.