The FDJ WorldTour team and bike sponsor Lapierre have revealed more about their ambitions to develop a women's team, confirming that the riders will race in similar colours and on the same bikes as their male counterparts. The two teams will also share training and performance advice, with support from the FDJ head coach Fred Grappe.
The PC Futuroscope 86 team will be known as FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope for 2017 and hopes to play a more prominent role in the women’s WorldTour.
FDJ first announced their partnership with a women's team after the Tour de France but the news was largely overlooked. Now the team has revealed their jersey and roster for 2017. The team will consist of 12 riders: six full time riders and several young riders who will combine racing with time at university.
Full time riders include Australian Shara Gillow who rode for Rabo-Liv in 2016, French sprinter Roxane Fournier, Aude Bihanic, Charlotte Bravard, Roxane Knetemann and Eri Yonamine of Japan. The team plans to develop gradually and develop its set-up in 2017 and 2018 before a possible bigger step up in 2019.
"We were 13th of the 38 teams in 2016 and rode in the WorldTour. We want to be in the top 10 in 2017," Stephen Delcourt, the manager of the team said on the FDJ website.
"We missed some important races in 2016 but the WorldTour has extra races for 2017 and so we can ride Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Amstel Gold Race and the Tour of Norway. Year by year our calendar is looking more and more like the that of the men.
"The Boels-Dolmans team crushed this season and won virtually everything. It has a structure like that of the men with more than a one million euro budget and all the riders are paid full time. We plan to try to compete with them in the future. We need two years of testing and then in 2019, if our sponsors want to accompany us, we want to be ready to compete with the largest teams. We hope our riders can have the same financial and technical resources than men have. Then we will see women's cycling become even better."