Bryan Coquard finds himself a popular man with BMC, IAM Cycling and AG2R-La Mondiale all hunting for his signature for 2016. According to a report in L'Équipe the teams have approached Coquard after he secured his first world title on the track at the World Championships last month – a gold in the Madison with Morgan Kneisky.
Coquard turned professional with Europcar in 2013 after his last big success on the boards - a silver medal in the omnium at the London Olympic Games - before finishing second to Alexey Lutsenko in the under 23 road race at the road World Championships. He will be out of contract at the end of the 2015 season and according to the report, the 22-year-old has already received an offer from AG2R, while the other two teams have expressed interest. However, Coquard says that he will hold off, for now, on any decision until the summer.
"Jean-René [Bernaudeau – Europcar manager] has done a lot for me but he would need to announce something before the Tour,” Coquard told the newspaper. "After that, it would become complicated. I'm not closing the door on anyone; I just now want to develop in a team with riders to support me for the sprints.”
BMC would be a big step up in terms of salary and structure for Coquard while going to AG2R-La Mondiale would keep him in the French system and probably be the easiest choice for the young rider. However, of the current options available, he finds himself drawn to IAM Cycling where his training partner Jérôme Pineau rides.
"I know that 'Jéjé' would like me to join him,” says Coquard. "There's a lot of gossip. I have not met anyone. For now, there's nothing concrete. But I know that going abroad does not scare me."
Coquard's Europcar team are currently on the hunt for a new sponsor, after the car rental company announced that they would pull their funding at the end of the year. Europcar have been the team's main sponsor since 2011 when they stepped in to save them after Bouygues Telecom dropped out. With another of their backers pulling the cord at the end of last season, resulting in the budget shortfall that ended in them being denied a WorldTour licence, the team are in a desperate battle to survive into 2016.
Since joining the team two years ago, Coquard has been one of their more consistent performers. Less than a month into his professional career, he notched up a stage win at Étoile de Bessèges. He went on to take another stage win and the points classification. In the intervening time he has won stages of the Tour de Langkawi, Paris-Camembert, Tour de Picardie, and spent several days in the green jersey at last year's Tour de France.
The failure to secure a licence made for a hasty programme change for Coquard this season but it didn’t stop his winning ways with another stage win at Étoile de Bessèges. The Frenchman knows his performances make his job more secure but he would be happy to use them to help save the team.
“In my position and with the results I have already achieved in two years, it's without doubt easier for me than for some of my teammates. Personally, I'm not worried and if my performances can help to bring in a sponsor, so much the better."
Coquard returned to the road last weekend at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, finishing in the second bunch four seconds back on the winner. He is set to ride Paris-Nice this weekend, where his Europcar team are looking to make an impression to help them with their sponsor search. Following that he will appear at the Volta a Catalunya and Fleche Brabançonne. He had been due to ride the Giro d'Italia but Europcar will now focus solely on the Tour de France.
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