Suez joins FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futuroscope women’s team

In its seventeen years of existence, the women’s cycling team has been part of the FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Futursocope (previously called “Vienne-Futuroscope” from 2006 to 2013, then “Poitou-Charentes Futuroscope 86”, from 2014 to 2016). Difficult time Stephen Delcourt, who has been general manager since 2013, has experienced the pain of not being able to meet his needs; That is to give up starting the next year; That too, being unable to keep pace with a thriving field.

Since the start of 2022, the only French team to play in the Elite Division – the Women’s World Teams (WWT) – has been playing on cloud nine: thirty podiums, nine victories, including Italian Marta Cavalli on the Amstel Gold Race, and Italian Marta Cavalli on the Amstel Gold Race. Fleche Wallon, in April, or, in early June, Australian Grace Brown, the new arrival in the group, on leg two of the women’s tour in the United Kingdom. And, a month before the Tour de France women’s big comeback, the general manager can finally breathe: He knows he’ll have the means to stay the course next season.

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His team announced, on Monday, 20 June, the arrival of a new co-sponsor, the Suez Group, as well as a three-year extension of the Française des Jeux (FDJ) commitment with the structure, ie until 2025. As of July 15, FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine-Fuuroscope will become FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope, before being renamed FDJ-Suez from 2023.

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“By providing our support to this team, we are giving it a little more means to fulfill its ambitions.s welcomes Sabrina Sausson, General Manager of Suez since January 2022. This will allow Stephane Delcourt to pursue its recruitment policy to the highest level and offer the team conditions conducive to its success, with a permanent staff and the necessary sports infrastructure. ,

following economic model

By then, training could rely on the support of 110 partners, including several communities. But, as its general manager points out, it was approaching the end of its economic model. “If we want to continue at the highest level, we need to significantly increase our budget. Only the private sector can allow us to do that.Summarizes the person concerned.

With this agreement, it is 10. goes fromI 7 o’clockI Budgetary rank of fourteen elite teams. “We will be able to offer contract extension to the girls. We want to give them the means to thrive and have visibility into their careers and also in their lives as women.Stephen Delcourt rejoices. With the ambition, in the background, to continue training young runners, as we did with the 1998-2000 generation. , Shortly before Monday’s announcement, one of the faces of said generation, the 2021 French champion, Evita Muzik, signed an extension of her contract until 2025.

If the case is larger, it is because the existence of the teams is based entirely on sponsorship: cycling does not profit from any ticket revenue, the television broadcasting rights are entirely occupied by the organizers of the events. And transfer riders do not generate any compensation. between structures.

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With the creation of an elite class in 2020, recent moves in women’s cycling emphasize the need for funding. “When we arrived in the women’s peloton in 2017, the area was embryonic. Few races, low or non-existent pay, almost no television broadcasts and even less than the Tour de France”Summarizes Stephen Pallez, chairman of the FDJ Group since 2014.

More race days to consider

Today, WWT riders have a minimum wage of 27,500 euros per year – which will be increased from 2023 to around 30,000 euros, equivalent to the salaries of Continental Pro men’s teams (2nd tier) – with health insurance and the possibility to take eight months. Maternity leave of

At the same time, the calendar has expanded. In 2021, the elite women’s circuit had only seven stage races out of 24 scheduled for the season. It now has 25 events, including twelve over a day – including two meetings lasting more than a week – for a total of seventy-one days of racing, when the women have had enough. Less than forty were played in the previous season.

However, as with their male counterparts, women’s World Tour teams must participate in every first-class event or risk losing their license. An increasingly difficult task in terms of staff, costs incurred and logistics. In the next season, over eighty days of racing are planned.

Read also: A comprehensive women’s cycling calendar, complex team management

“For three years, the budget for the women’s world tour has increased by more than 20% every year. This is huge even if we start from afar.Stéphane insists on Delcourt. average budget 1.4 million in 2020, 1.7 million in 2021 and 2.4 million in 2022. The arrival of Suez allows us to stay in the curve. ,

The difference with the biggest teams, whose envelope this year is around €3.5 million a year, is substantial, but the French team’s ambition is to be part of the long-term. Whom Suez wants to officially support: “Our goal is to enable the new FDJ-Suez-Futuroscope team to perform to their full potential and, through this, continue to develop women’s cycling as a whole”, Assured Sabrina Sausson.

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Also read the interview of UCI General Director Amina Lanaya: “There is a genuine desire to be able to highlight both men and women”

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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