“Rémi will have the goal of helping our leader [Rein Taaramae - ed], but will also have opportunities to play his own cards,” Cofidis manager Eric Boyer said, according to the French Federation website.
The Cofidis deal marks a speedy return to France for Di Grégorio after just one season with Astana. The Frenchman had spent the previous six years of his professional career at FDJ.
After his progress stalled towards the end of his time at FDJ, Di Grégorio enjoyed a resurgence of sorts at Astana, winning a stage of Paris-Nice and putting in a number of strong showings in the opening half of the season.
Di Gregorio is Cofidis’ first signing since the transfer deadline lifted on August 1, but the team’s plans suffered a blow during the week when target Sylvain Chavanel announced that he would remain with Quick Step next season.
A disappointed Boyer suggested that French champion Chavanel did not want the pressure of being sole leader at Cofidis, and preferred to share that burden with Tom Boonen and perhaps Philippe Gilbert in the new Quick Step-Omega Pharma amalgamation.
“I think Sylvain is in quite a comfortable situation in Belgium alongside Boonen and Gilbert, who might perhaps have to stay,” Boyer said in L’Équipe. “Sylvain can play his hand without pressure, and that should suit him.”
As well as missing out on Chavanel, Cofidis have lost young talent Tony Gallopin to RadioShack, where his uncle Alain is directeur sportif. Tony Gallopin spent two seasons at Cofidis, and enjoyed a solid Tour debut this July.
“The family element played a part, and that I can understand,” Boyer told L’Équipe. “But what I understand less is how you can still believe in Johan Bruyneel’s discourse. There is dream and there is reality. I hope that the dream isn’t going to turn into a nightmare…”