BBox Bouygues Telecom manager Jean-René Bernaudeau has said that he is still optimistic of finding a sponsor for his team for 2011 and that he will make a formal announcement later in the week.
According to Ouest France, Bernaudeau was in Paris on Monday for talks with an unnamed French multi-national company that had expressed an interested in funding the team. Bouygues Telecom is set to withdraw its sponsorship at the end of this season.
“They like the team and the project,” Bernaudeau said. “I’m very optimistic and a press conference will be organised before the end of the week.”
Bernaudeau is up against a tight deadline to secure the future of his squad. The name of the team, copies of the riders’ contracts and a bank guarantee for 2011 must all be presented to the UCI by the end of the month if the team is to continue next season. The team currently employs around sixty people, including 25 riders.
“I have lost a lot of sleep, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone to be in such a situation,” Bernaudeau admitted to Ouest France. “But my riders have given me their trust and they know that I am working for them.”
Pierrick Fédrigo, one of the team’s star performers, last week announced that he will join FDJ for next season, while French time trial champion Nicolas Vogondy is leaving for Cofidis. Thomas Voeckler remains committed to the team so long as it continues to exist but last week admitted to fearing the worst for its future.