In recent seasons, team sponsorship has been a challenge for Jean-René Bernaudeau. However, a successful first season with Direct Energie as title sponsor has carried over into 2017 and as a result, the French company has extended its sponsorship for a further two seasons.
"By continuing with Direct Energie, we remain faithful to our values," said Bernaudeau. "By striving to respect the riders, the families, the partners, the race organizers, we try every day to give an exemplary image of cycling. Direct Energie enthusiastically accompanies us in this vision of the bike, and it has paid off from the start."
Direct Energie Chairman and CEO Xavier Caïtucoli echoed Bernaudeau's comments, adding he envisages the successful partnership will continue to benefit both parties.
"The most beautiful energy is human energy. The Direct Energie group has the same ambition, the same sense of challenge as the team. That is why we look forward to another year of this extraordinary human adventure," Caïtucoli said.
The team did not mention if the extension of the sponsorship will allow for a return to the WorldTour. Direct Energie are currently registered as a Pro-Continental squad.
The announcement comes one day after Direct Energie secured the overall Coppi e Bartali title via a final stage win to Lilian Calmejane. Thomas Boudat also won a stage for the team who have now accumulated 11 wins in season 2017. The Italian stage race victory was the second GC win of the season for Camlejane who also won the Étoile de Bessèges. The second year neo-pro won a stage of the Vuelta a Espana last year and has thus far been a stand out rider for the team in 2017. The 24-year-old also won the KOM jersey at Paris-Nice and finished third at GP Marseillaise with the Ardennes his next major target.
While Calmejane's status has increased in 2017, the leaders of the team remain Bryan Coquard and Thomas Voeckler. Coquard had 13 wins last season but has started slower in 2017 with just two wins so far to his name. He and Voeckler will be key riders for the team at the Tour de France in July which is the team's sole Grand Tour for 2017.
Before Direct Energie came onboard as the title sponsor, Bernaudeau's team was known as Brioches La Boulangère, Bonjour, Bouygues Télécom, and Bbox Bouygues Telecom and Europcar. The team's first professional season was back in 2000 although its history reaches back to 1984 when Cyrille Guimard and Laurent Fignon created the System U team.