Cofidis has confirmed that it will launch its new women's team in 2022 and that it will be supported with a €1 million a year budget. The team will be headed by Gaël Le Bellec, who was commissioned by Cofidis Competition to form a team made up of ten riders.
"Our sports sponsorship reflects the image of the group and thus endeavors to give pride of place to diversity and parity," said Thierry Vittu, Director of Human Resources, member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of Cofidis Competition.
"We are going to devote a substantial budget to it – to the tune of €1 million per year – in order to be ambitious and as competitive as possible."
In January, Vittu announced that the Cofidis Group would launch a women’s team in next year, alongside its men’s and paracycling squads.
“I have the habit of saying that a sports team should be a representation of the Cofidis company. We have the men’s pro team and the paracycling section, and they reflect a good part of what the Cofidis company is, but it’s a group of 5,500 people in which the majority are women. So something is missing,” Vittu said at that time.
“We will have a women’s team as part of the Cofidis group from 2022. It won’t be this year because we need time to put it together and gather the resources, but in 2022 we will certainly have one."
Cofidis have stated that the new women's team, which will launch with a Continental licence in their first year, will benefit from the organisational expertise of the men's programme. The team stated that they will encouraged, as much as possible, a common presence during the pre-season camp.
“The objective is to find a place and be essential in the biggest competitions on the calendar," said Cofidis team general manager, Cédric Vasseur. "The resources mobilized and Cofidis' commitment to cycling, through its longevity at the highest level, will be invaluable arguments for building a successful team."
Cofidis will become the eighth men’s WorldTour team to have an affiliated women’s squad, following Team DSM, Movistar, BikeExchange, Trek-Segafredo, Jumbo-Visma and Lotto Soudal, as well as Groupama-FDJ, who share resources with FDJ Nouvelle-Aquitaine Futuroscope.
Cofidis also announced that Cofidis Group has extended its partnership with the cycling programmes through 2025, has a long-term commitment with their paracycling programme, and that it intends to increase the budget of the men's WorldTour team by €1.5 million annually.
"The notion of loyalty is particularly important within Cofidis Group. This will allow us to continue to progress and develop over time," Vittu said regarding the proposed extension through 2025.
Vasseur agreed and said that a new development phase will begin for the programme. "It offers stability and allows us to start a new era in which we will strive to be more ambitious."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.
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