The 2008 Cofidis Team was presented to the – predominantly French – media yesterday, in a low-key affair in the rather grand setting of the Mini Palais, a stone's throw away from Paris' Avenue des Champs Elysees where the Tour de France finishes each July. Cyclingnews' Ben Atkins travelled to the French capital to get the scoop on one of the country's top teams.
Presentations were given by Cofidis' Director General Benoit Coqueval; President of Cofidis Competition Thierry Vittu, and the Cofidis team's General Manager Eric Boyer. Before Boyer himself introduced various members of the team and support staff.
Just eight of the team's roster of thirty riders were present, but represented a cross-section of the team's aims and philosophy. Established French riders: rouleur supreme Stéphane Augé and team captain Sylvain Chavanel were presented alongside Belgians Maxime Monfort and classics leader Nick Nuyens. Adding their experience will be new signings: multiple French road and time trial champion Florent Brard and baroudeur Samuel Dumoulin, acquired from Caisse d'Epargne and Ag2r-Prévoyance respectively.
To emphasise Cofidis' commitment to the future of French cycling, Alexandre Blain and Julien El Farès – two of the six neo-pros signed this year – were also present.
Cofidis was both shocked and embarrassed by Christian Moreni's positive dope test, forcing the team's withdrawal from the Tour de France last year. Consequently, Eric Boyer's speech – as well as laying out the team's sporting aims – emphasised that all of the results obtained by Cofidis riders this year will be entirely down to hard work in training in strict respect of the rules of good conduct, ethics and morals. To back up its intentions to race clean, Cofidis – like many other teams – has an internal system of blood and urine tests.
To read the full story on Cofidis' team launch, click here.