The French Ministry of Armed Forces has confirmed the demise of the Armee de Terre Continental team, claiming that the remit of the French military is to help amateur sport rather than a professional cycling team. Funding will instead be used to develop amateur athletes for the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games. The 2024 Olympic Games will be held in Paris.
According to French newspaper Le Parisien, the riders were summoned to their barracks in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on Friday to be told the news. The newspaper had revealed the team had tried to extend the registration deadline of November 1 to try to save the team. However, a 50 per cent budget deficit caused by the withdrawal of the French Ministry of Armed Forces left the team fighting to remain alive for 2018.
The French Ministry of Armed Forces has promised to honour any existing contract for 2018 but the riders are struggling to find a new team at such a late moment in the year.
The Armee de Terre in 2011 and became a Continental team in 2015. Julian Alaphilippe, Benjamin Thomas, Julien Duval and Marc Sarreau have all been a part of the team, which stood out in the peloton due to its unique camouflage team colours.
The team won 20 races in 2017, with Damien Gaudin winning the Tro Bro Leon, and was the best-ranked Continental team in the UCI Europe Tour - ninth in the teams rankings - beating many Professional Continental teams.