By Hedwig Kröner
French online credit company Cofidis has launched the first French professional track cycling team this week. Although the group will be small with only four riders, they are of high value: sprinters Arnaud Tournant, Mickael Bourgain, Kivin Sireau and up-and-coming talent Didier Henriette. They will all focus on the team's primary objective: the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Cofidis, whose former president François Migraine has been sponsoring French track cyclists for over ten years, hopes to raise the image of the brand at the Olympics, but also at the four World Cup events of the 2007-2008 season. "With a maximum of riders at each World Cup event, we will increase the overall level," sports director Benoît Vêtu told L'Equipe.
"It will be the first time that we can test them all at once. And we will also increase our chances of the maximum number of riders for the Olympics," he added. Indeed, the greater the amount of French riders in the World Cup events, the greater will be the chances of France scoring enough points to send the maximum of four sprinters to Beijing next year.
All of them have signed a one-year contract at this time.