The French Cycling Federation has named Bernard Bourreau as the new manager of the elite men’s national team. Bourreau replaces Laurent Jalabert, who stepped down as national coach in April after four years at the helm.
The 61-year-old Bourreau has coached the French espoirs team with considerable success since 2006, and he guided Romain Sicard and Arnaud Démare to the rainbow jersey at under-23 level in 2009 and 2011, respectively. He also won the Tour de l’Avenir with Sicard in 2009 and Warren Barguil in 2012, and had served under Jalabert as an assistant coach with the elite men's team.
Bourreau spent 17 years as a coach with the French junior team prior to working with the espoirs squad, and he coached Arnaud Gérard to the world junior title in Zolder in 2002.
In spite of that track record with underage national teams, Bourreau’s appointment comes as something of a surprise, with L’Équipe reporting that the FFC’s initial short list of candidates had compromised of Christophe Agnolutto, Eric Boyer, Cyrille Guimard and Jean-Cyril Robin.
Bourreau raced as a professional with the Peugeot team in the 1970s and 1980s, participating in eleven Tours de France, and he also has experience at the business end of world championships as a rider. Bourreau was a bronze medallist in the amateur world championships road race on the Montjuic circuit in Barcelona in 1973 and he finished 5th in the professional race in 1984, again in Barcelona.