Bbox Bouygues Telecom boss Jean-René Bernaudeau has revealed that he is close to sealing a deal with a new backer. Speaking to the Sud-Ouest newspaper, Bernaudeau would not disclose the name of the company he is talking to, but admitted, “they are foreign.We’re talking about a budgetary deal that would enable us to become one of the world’s top 10 teams.”
Bernaudeau has been on the look-out for a new backer for some time having been given an early warning by Bouygues Telecom that they are planning to end their six-year-long link with his team at the end of this season. He admitted earlier this year that several companies were interested in backing his squad, and confessed that he still has more than one company interested in doing so.
Asked about the potential deal he is negotiating with his most likely backer, Bernaudeau commented: “It would be about a million euros more than we have this season (7 million euros.- Ed). I am confident that the deal will be done, but nothing has been signed as yet.”
He added that the new agreement would be based around a long-term project rather than focusing on specific riders. “The people I’m meeting with aren’t talking about the composition of the team at all,” he revealed. Asked whether the issue of doping had been mentioned during negotiations, Bernaudeau said: “They believe that doping is widespread and is globally unfavourable to cycling. But they love the Tour de France and they recognize the history of our team.
“They know that we are a serious team, which is no bad thing when there are four or five others who are also looking for sponsors.”
Asked whether he expected to be able to hang on to coveted riders such as Pierrick Fédrigo, Pierre Rolland and Cyril Gautier, Bernaudeau responded: “The riders will make their own choices. If some of them do leave that will free up budget for me to make more signings for next year.”
Bernaudeau concluded by saying that he hopes to be able to announce the identity of his backer on August 1.