The Cofidis riders and management admitted they desperately need some early season results at their official presentation in Paris on Thursday, as they try to convince the French credit company to continue the sponsorship of the team beyond 2010.
The team was not given a UCI ProTour licence for 2010 and team manager Eric Boyer knows his riders have to win some races if Cofidis is stay in cycling.
Boyer has convinced veteran David Moncoutié to race for another season after winning a stage and the climber’s jersey at the Vuelta Espana. However, the Cofidis team roster is largely unchanged for 2010 with Tour de France stage winner Samuel Dumoulin, Remi Pauriol, sprinter Leonardo Duque, Amael Moinard, and talented young Estonian Rein Taaramae in the 23-rider roster.
Moinard was 15th overall in the Tour de France but the team only won 14 races during the 2009 season.
“If Cofidis continues, it’s got to be in the elite of the sport,” Boyer said. “We don’t have the riders to win the Tour but we have the potential to play our cards in the weeklong stage races we’ve neglected so far.”
“The riders have to prove they deserve a place in the ProTour by scoring points in the big races. That could be more difficult than ever because we still haven’t been invited to the Tour of Basque Country and the Volta a Catalunya. But if necessary, we’ll do the Tour of Turkey...”
Dumoulin got the 2010 season off to a good start by winning a stage of the Tropicale Amissa Bongo in Africa. He will make his European debut in the new white and red Cofidis jersey at the Grand Prix de la Marseillaise in the south of France on Sunday.