City of Paris linked to B&B Hotels team backing for 2023

FOIX FRANCE JULY 19 Luca Mozzato of Italy and Team BB Hotels PB KTM during the team presentation prior to the 109th Tour de France 2022 Stage 16 a 1785km stage from Carcassonne to Foix TDF2022 WorldTour on July 19 2022 in Foix France Photo by Dario BelingheriGetty Images
B&B Hotels-KTM at the Tour de France (Image credit: Dario BelingheriGetty Images)

The arrival of the Tour de France in Paris and the start of the Tour de France Femmes in the same city has coincided with a report from French newspaper L'Equipe that the French capital is set to become an important new player in cycling by lending its name to UCI Pro Team B&BHotels p/b KTM in 2023.

The project is said to expand the current ProTeam to both a men's and women's squad, as well as an academy for young riders, but a specific figure for a new budget has yet to emerge.

According to L'Equipe, the news will be made official this Sunday evening, after the men's Tour de France has ended on the Champs-Élysées.

While the team's initial aim is to become the top two squads in the ProTeams ranking, it is said to be looking to boost its line-up. Mark Cavendish, out of contract with QuickStep-AlphaVinyl at the end of the season, is reportedly on the teams's radar as a potential signing for 2023.

However, another name mentioned in the newspaper report as potentially sparking interest, Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) has now re-signed with his current team for a further three years.

Other teams in the past with major western European cities forming part of a pro squad's name include Wallonie-Bruxelles, Delko-Marseille and Telekom, who were initially named after the German city Stuttgart. 

Didier Quillot, chief executive of France's Ligue de Football Professionel and one of the brains behind the project, told the newspaper that the backing of the team was due to Paris city council's desire to boost the image of Paris as the world capital of cycling and boost bike use among its citizens.

At the same time, the imminent celebration of the Olympic Games in 2024 in Paris, the inspiration for this new sponsorship was drawn from the creation of Team Sky in Britain in 2010 and the Games which took place in London in 2012.

Quillot was at pains to point out that while Paris will lend its name and image to the expanded project, reportedly to be dubbed Paris Cycling Project, and the team will have its HQ in the city, no financial backing from the city and no public money will be provided at all.

A private sponsor, who will also appear on the team jersey, is expected to make up the shortfall.

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