Team Cofidis, Solutions Credits have secured their place in the peloton for another four years after the French bank signed a new sponsorship contract. The deal, which is one of the longest in cycling, extends the bank’s involvement in the sport at least until the end of the 2022 season.
Cofidis was founded in 1997 by rider manager Cyrille Guimard with funding from the bank’s chief executive Francois Migraine, and the bank has been their sole named sponsor ever since. The French outfit was part of the inaugural ProTour and remained there for four further seasons but has raced at Pro Continental level since being relegated for the 2010 season.
The team has been home to Frank Vandenbroucke, David Millar, Sylvain Chavanel, Igor Astarloa, Stuart O’Grady and David Moncoutie over the years – who won the Vuelta a Espana’s mountains classification four years in a row for the squad. They have won 10 stages of the Tour de France, but their last came in 2008 with Chavanel and Samuel Dumoulin taking one stage apiece.
Other major victories for the team have included the 1999 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the 1998 Clasica San Sebastian. On top of their 10 Tour stage wins, they have amassed 13 victories at the Vuelta a Espana. However, the team has struggled to find the same success in recent years and their last Grand Tour stage win was Daniel Navarro’s stage 14 success at the 2014 Vuelta a Espana.
A number of changes have been made for the 2018 season as they look to find their success once again. Former rider Cedric Vasseur brought in to replace Yves Sanquer - who had joined the team in similar circumstances in 2012 - in October last year. Vasseur made some immediate changes to the set-up around star rider Nacer Bouhanni, removing his father from the team payroll and reducing the size of his lead-out train.
Veteran directeur sportif Roberto Damiani was also brought in to help mentor Bouhanni. The changes have caused some friction, and Bouhanni and Damiani came to blows after a disagreement at the one-day Eschborn-Frankfurt at the start of the month. Vasseur told Cyclingnews earlier this week that Bouhanni had to prove himself if he wanted to earn a Tour de France spot in July. The sprinter answered Vasseur with his first win of the season at the 4 Jours de Dunkerque.
Elsewhere, however, the team has been going well with Christophe Laporte enjoying a good start to the season with four victories, including Tro-Bro Leon. Stephane Rossetto also earned the squad a spectacular long-range solo victory on the final day of racing at the Tour de Yorkshire.
Cofidis also holds sponsorship deals with, ASO-run races, the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, which has ensured them wild card places in both Grand Tours.