The building material distributor had apparently signed a letter of intent to co-sponsor Garmin-Cervélo next year, but subsequently withdrew from the deal and entered into negotiations with FDJ.
BigMat is understood to be prepared to boost Marc Madiot’s budget by around three million euro. In 2011, FDJ had a reported budget of nine million euro, and the team has never had a second title sponsor on its distinctive jersey since its formation in 1997.
While negotiations are still ongoing between the two parties, L’Équipe reports that talks are “well advanced and should finish with a partnership agreement for 2012.”
The BigMat name is already in the peloton as title sponsor of BigMat-Auber 93, and the Continental team will continue unaffected next season. The team’s 1.8 million euro budget is provided by BigMat France, while BigMat’s international entity will sponsor FDJ.
After a year at Pro Continental level, FDJ is in contention for one of the final three berths in the WorldTour for next season, but is all but guaranteed a wildcard place at the Tour de France should it fail to gain automatic entry.
BigMat's last appearance as a sponsor at the Tour de France came in 2001. When its team failed to secure invitations in the following seasons, BigMat withdrew its support, and did not return until 2010.
While Madiot is set to welcome Garmin’s purported sub-sponsor into the fold for 2012, he laughed off a suggestion that Garmin rider David Millar would also be coming to FDJ.
“We came across one another two weeks ago at the Chrono des Nations and I asked him if he wanted to come and join us. But it was a joke because he was under contract,” Madiot told L’Équipe.
The French newspaper does note that FDJ is interested in signing Garmin's Gabriel Rasch and that Philippe Gilbert has asked Madiot to find a berth for his former Omega Pharma-Lotto teammate Jussi Veikkanen.