With a decision on the future of his Bbox Bouygues Telecom team pending on Monday, Thomas Voeckler has admitted that he is “waiting for a miracle.”
The French champion has stoked interest from a number of other teams but recognises that if he opts to leave Bbox at this point, Jean-René Bernaudeau’s team will not exist next season.
“I’m lucky that a lot of teams want to sign me, but they also understand my commitment to Jean-René,” Voeckler told Ouest France. “If I let Jean-René down, then there’d be no more team.
“I want it to continue so we have to keep going to the end. There’s been a little bit of hope since Friday and things have started moving. We’re waiting for a miracle…”
Voeckler has spent his entire professional career with Bernaudeau’s team and has never been in such a position before. “At this time of the year, our future was always already secured,” he said. “This is the first time that I’ve been obliged to think of other options and make a choice.”
Pierrick Fédrigo and Nicolas Vogondy have already left the team for FDJ and Cofidis, respectively, but Voeckler has opted to persevere with Bernaudeau until the last possible moment. “I’ve taken it upon myself to think about things, I don’t have an agent,” he said. “But I shouldn’t complain about my situation.
“There are other riders and staff and for them it’s not just a question of knowing whether or not they’re leaving the team, but of whether or not they’ll have a job. I have no right to complain.”
Meanwhile, Jean-René Bernaudeau has told L’Équipe that he is still hopeful of saving his team even though his potential sponsor is reportedly stalling on making a decision. “That’s not necessarily a bad sign, quite the opposite” Bernaudeau said.
Since forming a professional team in 2000 from the base of his amateur squad Vendée U, Bernaudeau has repeatedly succeeding in finding sponsors for his team, namely Bonjour, Brioches La Boulangère and Bouygues Telecom.
“It’s incredible, people here think I’m a miracle-worker,” Bernaudeau said after Sunday’s Tour de Vendée. “So I’m fighting for them too.”
Bernaudeau was also quick to pay tribute to Voeckler’s loyalty, recalling that he entered the professional ranks from the amateur Vendée U set-up. “Voeckler’s a real example,” he said. “He’s emblematic of a true and beautiful success story.”