La Banque Postale has issued a statement to deny reports that it is poised to become a sponsor of the Bbox-Bouygues Telecom team in 2011.
“La Poste and La Banque Postale categorically deny having been in contact with Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team,” the statement read. “Such a link is not part of La Poste’s strategy, as La Poste is already a sponsor of referees in football, rugby and handball since 2007.”
Meanwhile, Bouygues Telecom clarified its stance on sponsoring the set-up in 2011. “If the team finds one or more primary partners, Bouygues Telecom plans to contribute minor sponsorship of up to one million euro for one year so as to allow its finances to be finalised.”
In effect, as L’Équipe reported yesterday, the French telecommunications company is prepared to offer reduced sponsorship for another season while Bernaudeau locates a replacement.
For his part, Bernaudeau played down the speculation that had linked La Banque Postale to his team. “I simply told my riders that I was in a position to guarantee them a two-year contract, and I am working on a four-year commitment,” he said. He also revealed that he has already applied for a ProTour licence for his team in 2011. Teams have until August 15 to inform the International Cycling Union (UCI) of their preferred status for next season. Guarantees of their finances must be shown to the UCI by October 1.
It is also reported that while Thomas Voeckler is set to stay with Bernaudeau’s team next season, fellow Tour de France stage winner Pierrick Fédrigo is considering pastures new. He has been offered a deal with Bbox-Bouygues Telecom for 2011 but has also spoken with other teams, according to L'Equipe. An announcement from Fédrigo is anticipated at the Tour du Limousin next week.