Team Europcar announced that it's secured Harmonie Mutuelle as a co-sponsor in a two-year agreement. The French health insurance company has committed to Jean-René Bernaudeau's Pro Continental team for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
"Harmonie Mutuelle is close to the general public. By sponsoring Europcar we advertise the importance of sports for health," the company stated in a press release today.
Europcar took over the sponsorship from Bouygues Telecom in 2010 but the team failed to secure a second title sponsor over the past three seasons. Team manager Bernaudeau announced during this year's Tour de France that the car rental company would support the team for an additional two seasons.
In its bid to move up to the WorldTour for next season the French team needed to increase its budget. By bringing Harmonie Mutuelle on board, the team can start extending contracts and hiring new riders.
Europcar's leaders Thomas Voeckler and Pierre Rolland announced during the Tour de France that they would continue with Europcar while Tony Hurel, Christophe Kern, Jérôme Cousin and Bryan Cocquard have also extended their contracts with the team. Romain Guillemois and Bryan Nauleau signed on as neo-pros for next year.
Jimmy Engoulvent, a member of the soon to be defunct Sojasun team, announced today that he had signed a two-year agreement with Europcar. The 33-year-old Frenchman returns to his roots as he turned professional with the organisation in 2000, then known as Bonjour. After spending several seasons at Cofidis and Credit Agricole, Engoulvent moved to the Sojasun team in 2009 and had remained there through this season.
2011 junior world champion Pierre-Henri Lecuisinier, who was a trainee with Europcar in the latter portion of this season, had also been announced as a new signing for 2014 but he surprised many by signing with French WorldTour team FDJ.fr instead.
Five members of Team Europcar's 2013 roster have left the team. David Veilleux and Anthony Charteau both decided to retire, northern Classics specialist Sébastien Turgot and Paris-Nice prologue winner Damien Gaudin signed for Ag2r-La Mondiale while Sébastien Chavanel moved over to FDJ.fr.