Didier Rous has parted company with Europcar after three seasons as a directeur sportif with Jean-Rene Bernaudeau’s team. The Frenchman has been linked with a new role at Cofidis.
“It’s black or white with him [Rous],” Bernaudeau told Ouest France. “Didier called me on December 28, I was in hospital the day after a gallbladder operation.
“I was surprised by his intention because because Didier had done the preparations for the season with us since Europcar had joined us as our new sponsor. It’s his choice. It’s the end of a nice shared chapter.”
Rous joined the management set-up of the then Bouygues Telecom team in 2008 after spending the last eight seasons of his career as a rider with Bernaudeau’s squad. He had previously admitted to doping during his time with the Festina team in the 1990s, but went on to become a respected figure in the French peloton in the second half of his career, winning the French road race championships on two occasions.
Rous is the fifth member of Bernaudeau’s management team to leave the set-up since 2004, following in the footsteps of Thierry Bricaud, Nicolas Guille, Philippe Mauduit and Christian Guiberteau.
It is understood that Rous left Europcar because he wanted to have more of an input into the team’s recruitment policy, while retaining his role in the team car as directeur sportif.
In Rous’ absence, Bernaudeau will temporarily return to a more active role in the management of the team at races.
“Didier will need to be replaced in the long-term,” Bernaudeau said. “But for now I will address a frustration in being with the team more often.”
Reports in Ouest France link Rous with a new role at Cofidis, who yesterday announced that Stephane Auge would join its management team.