Europcar’s future for the 2016 season is secure as manager Jean-Rene Bernaudeau announced Direct Energie would replace the car hire company as the team’s title sponsor next year.
Direct Energie is France and Belgium’s third largest energy supplier and will bring its distinctive yellow branding to the cycling team next year, a departure from the green jerseys of the past five seasons.
“I chose Direct Energie because I wanted a partner that would be seduced by the long-lasting work I led for the training of riders. I am convinced that Direct Energy Cycling team will surprise and bring good vibes to the peloton thanks to its ‘panache’ and fighting spirit,” Bernaudeau said.
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With the sponsor secured, Bernaudeau will be able to start rebuilding his squad, which has already seen leading riders Cyril Gautier (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Garmin) seek alternative employment for next year.
Veteran Thomas Voeckler will return for 2016, while the team announced on Tuesday that three-time French time trial champion Sylvain Chavanel would be joining the team from IAM Cycling.
Xavier Caïtucoli, CEO of Direct Energie, said “This is a real pride for Direct Energie and its staff to become sponsor of this team benefiting from popular support in France. Choosing pro cycling is natural to us as we share common values such as proximity, enthusiasm and taste for effort. And we are both challengers.”