Bbox future hanging in the balance

Jean-René Bernaudeau has rated his Bbox Bouygues Telecom team’s chances of survival at “6 out of 10” and announced that he will make a definitive announcement on the team’s future at the Tour de Vendée on Sunday.

Bernaudeau has been in negotiations with potential sponsors throughout the season but failed to land a backer for 2011.

“I have only one possibility left, and I’m awaiting a response” Bernaudeau told L’Équipe. “Between now and Friday evening it should be decided.”

According to reports in Ouest France, talks with oil company Total ultimately came to nothing and Bernaudeau’s team’s fate is in the hands of a banking group, which will make a decision on whether or not to sponsor the team at the end of this week.

“A team of our size can only survive thanks to sponsorship,” Bernaudeau said. “We have just had a great season, but everything rests on negotiations, on a vote in a boardroom. We live at the whim of advertising budgets, you have to seduce or die.”

Bernaudeau will make an announcement regarding his team’s future at the weekend. “I would say our chances of survival are 6 out of 10. We will tell everybody on Sunday at the Tour de Vendée, in our own backyard, which will welcome the start of the Tour next year,” he said. “That would be very sad and surreal.”

Meanwhile, team leader Thomas Voeckler confessed his concerns to Ouest France. “We couldn’t have done any better this season. I don’t understand why the decision is so delayed and I’m worried,” Voeckler said. “I’m finding it hard to sleep. I’ve always had confidence in Jean-René and I’ve always said that I would stay with him if the team continues.”

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Barry Ryan
Head of Features

Barry Ryan is Head of Features at Cyclingnews. He has covered professional cycling since 2010, reporting from the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and events from Argentina to Japan. His writing has appeared in The Independent, Procycling and Cycling Plus. He is the author of The Ascent: Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche and the Rise of Irish Cycling’s Golden Generation, published by Gill Books.