Five WorldTour rookies
“With the rider extensions that will be announced soon, we will have 26 riders in 2023. And if we have opportunities, maybe we will go up to 28. At the moment, I have signed five riders from the WordTour. We have strengthened in all areas. I did not sign a leader for the simple and good reason that there is none on the market. There could be one or two more recruits. We look. Some leaked names were completely fake. On the other hand, yes, I almost signed Michael Matthews. He finally preferred to stay in his current team (Team BikeExchange). Jean-Louis Le Ny (WB Fybolia Morbihan) will not come to us. »
“Yes, we are talking. He is not one of the five who have already signed. He’s someone I love very much. I would very much like him to come to us, but it’s quite complicated. Cavendish is a cycling legend. There is sport but not only… It looks like negotiations for the recruitment of a footballer. He wants to come to us but he doesn’t want to come on retreat to us either. If he comes, it will be to win. We want to win together. Today, for his recruitment, let’s say it’s 50-50. »
Second place for Axel Laurance in the Bretagne Classic
“I followed the final of the race on television (it was the wedding). At one point, I said to myself that he (Axel Laurance) was going to do it. I’m super proud of him, of the team too. Just imagine: on the podium of the Bretagne Classic with a neo-professional who we trained at the VCP Loudéac. Behind the untouchable Van Aert, in addition. So yes, I shed a tear. It was magical.
With Franck’s podium (Bonnamour), last year, on the Champs-Élysées (he had been elected Super combative of the Tour 2021) and Franck’s victory at the last Polynormande, our first French Cup, it’s our finest moment since the creation of the team. We are always good in August but this is still pretty crazy! »
The progress of the B&B Hotels-KTM team
“After a complicated period, the team has the face we wanted. Like what, it’s good to say things to each other, sometimes. We have Axel (Laurance) who finished 2nd in Plouay but we also have Alan (Boileau) and Maxime (Chevalier) who did a good Tour of Germany. These three kids haven’t come out of the Tour, which means they’ve worked a lot.
I also want to give a big thumbs up to Pierre (Rolland). We told him that we needed him after the Tour de France and he is responding. He is the image of the team, he needs to be happy to perform.
With hindsight, we may have been too euphoric after the Tour de France last year, we may not have done everything necessary to be good from the start of the season. »
Everything leads me to think that Axel Laurance can become a very great
“His second place in the WorldTour opens up great prospects for him. I don’t want to get carried away but here, we are still in the very high level. I don’t know how far he can go, I don’t want to project myself. Sometimes I was wrong. But everything leads me to think that he can become a very big one. I’m not surprised that he works among the pros but from there to 2nd at Plouay in his first year… Do you know that he took his responsibilities during the briefing? When Didier (Rous, the sporting director) asked the guys who felt capable of being in the final of the Bretagne Classic, he answered “me”. It’s rare in a kid.
But, you know, Axel has been doing well since the beginning of the year. I can tell you now: if he hadn’t had covid at the time of the French championship, he would have been on the pre-list for the Tour de France. The idea now is to extend his contract. He will become someone important in the team. »
The future of the team
“I haven’t communicated since. the arrival of the Tour de France on July 24. But, rest assured, everything is fine (the newspaper L’Équipe has revealed that the City of Paris has decided to associate its name with the B&B Hôtels formation). We move forward, we refine things. We will communicate in the second part of September. Before talking to the press, I have to talk to my institutions and my partners. I imagine that it makes people talk, that people ask themselves questions. Me, I don’t. I don’t need to say more. Let’s say I let talk. The main team name will be Paris. Its budget will be around fifteen million. At the end of September, the entire project will be explained by Madame Anne Hidalgo (the mayor of Paris), Emmanuel Grégoire (his first deputy), Didier Quillot and myself. »
The women’s team
“It will have the same name as our men’s team. It will include 12 runners. Recruitment is complete, it has not been easy. I said it, I would very much like to have Audrey Cordon-Ragot in my squad. »
A Breton identity
“Contrary to everything that can be said, we will remain Breton in 2023. Breton-Parisian, if you like, but we will remain Breton. The team’s headquarters will remain in Theix (near Vannes). We will have a central office in Paris but we will always have a Breton identity. When Jean-René Bernaudeau signs with TotalEnergies, his team stays in Vendée, right? Yes, we are going to bear the name of the city of Paris, yes, we are going to develop cycling there but no, we are not moving. Our academy will remain Glaz, our reserve team will remain the VCP Loudéac. Our know-how will not change either. The team will always be presented at Grand-Champ. There will be Breton references on our jersey, we don’t forget where we come from. »