Coquard's Tour de France start remains in the balance

Bryan Coquard has told Cyclingnews that his Tour de France selection remains in the balance after a tense few weeks between himself and Direct Energie boss Jean-René Bernaudeau.

Coquard, 25, announced in May that he would not renew his contract with Bernaudeau's outfit and that he was looking for a new challenge at WorldTour level. The decision to go public was only made by Coquard after he sought the approval of both Bernaudeau and the team's main sponsors. However, as reported at the end of May, the situation quickly deteriorated with Coquard admitting that his Tour selection was in doubt.

At the start of stage 2 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, Coquard put on a brave face and told Cyclingnews that his Tour spot should be secured if he can prove his form. He has won five races this season, accounting for almost a quarter of Direct Energie's total victory tally.

"My manager did tell me that if I don't re-sign then I don't go to the Tour de France. It's a difficult choice, but for the moment if I have good results then I'll go to the Tour de France," he told Cyclingnews.

"Direct Energie is like a big family. When I decided not to re-sign it was difficult for Jean-René but we are friends on the team and there's now no problem. It's a good atmosphere."

While Coquard's Tour de France selection remains in the balance there should be no shortage of suitors for his signature in 2017. The latest speculation has linked to a project spearheaded by former pro rider, Jérôme Pineau, who retired at the end of 2015. Although the team is likely to start at the Pro Continental level, Coquard and Pineau have talked about linking up together in the future.

"That's one of the propositions," Coquard told Cyclingnews.

"Jerome is one of my best friends but for the moment I look for a WorldTour Team. At the moment, he has a project but not a team. He's spoken to me but for the moment I don't know. Like I said, for now it's just bike and results for my focus.

"I don't know my future for the moment. I have a lot of propositions but at the moment it's all about the bike and winning races. After that I'll choose."

Coquard turned professional under Bernaudeau's wing but almost left the team at end of 2015 as his manager scrambled to secure a new sponsor after Europcar decided to pull their backing from the squad. Coquard remained loyal at the time and signed a new contract. Riders can officially sign contracts with new teams on or after the UCI's August 1 deadline.

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