Le Roux secures Fortuneo contract thanks to crowd funding

Frenchman raises 40,000 after the demise of the Armée de Terre squad

French rider Romain Le Roux has secured a contract with the Fortuneo-Oscaro team for 2018 after raising 40,000 Euro via a French crowd funding platform to cover two thirds of his contract costs.

The 25-year-old Breton rode for the Armée de Terre team in 2017, but after the French state cut its funding of the military team, he was forced to search for a new contract. A friend convinced him to try the Kengo crowd funding site. He set himself the goal of raising 40,000 before Christmas, and thanks to reports in the local French media, 180 different donors offered to back him and so secured his future in the professional peloton.

When Fortuneo manager Emmanuel Hubert heard that Le Roux had gathered 40,000 Euro, he offered to cover the 20,000 Euro needed to cover his contract costs. Le Roux has kept training during the winter and will now join the French Professional Continental team that has signed Warren Barguil as team leader for 2018.

"As soon as I learned about the demise of the Army team I tried to find another team. I knew it was going to be hard but I always believed I could do it," Le Roux explained.

"I had set Christmas as the deadline before making a decision on my future, so it's a relief and a great pleasure to sign with Fortuneo.

"I continued to ride seriously during the winter as in previous years. I was well supported by my friends Laurent Pichon and Olivier Le Gac, who kept me motivated. I secretly hoped that it would workout.

"After overcoming this challenge, I intend to give 200 per cent in my role as a teammate and maybe even try to seize my luck on some events. Last week I did not have a team, today I'm just happy to know that I will wear the Fortuneo jersey next season."

The Cannondale-Drapac team raised over $560,000 in the later summer as they tried to save the US-registered WorldTour team after a major sponsor opted not to back the team. News of the campaign and direct interest from fans was cited as one of the reasons why EF Education First eventual stepped in to sponsor and take over Jonathan Vaughters' squad.

Hubert was convinced by Le Roux's determination to stay in the professional ranks.

"Romain is talented and he really showed his temperament this winter. We had to find a solution for him," the French team manager said.

"I was touched by his approach. He has raised more than 40 000 Euro. It doesn't fully cover the costs of hiring him but that's not important. He fought to survive for a month and a half and so we had to give him a chance."

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