Petrol company Total to take over sponsorship Direct Energie, according to reports

The Professional Continental team will be sponsored by France’s biggest company

Niki Terpstra moved to Direct Energie for 2019 (Photo: Yuzuru SUNADA)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Direct Energie will be replaced by gas and oil giant Total as the main sponsor before Paris-Roubaix, according to French media.

The Pro Continental team, now home to double Monument winner Niki Terpstra, will see their main sponsor switch from utility provide Direct Energie to Total, the biggest company in France.

Total bought out Direct Energie last summer in a €1.4billion (£1.1billion) deal.

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According to French newspaper L’Equipe, the new sponsor will appear on the team kit at Paris-Roubaix on April 14, replacing the familiar black and yellow strip that has featured in the pro peloton since 2016.

The team has existed in a number of forms since 2000, including under the name Bougues Telecom before car rental firm Europcar came on board in 2011.

Team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau was then forced to search for a new sponsor in 2015, attracting Direct Energie as the main backer from 2016.

Riders for the outfit have included Frenchmen Sylvain Chavanel and Thomas Voeckler.

Most recently the team signed Classics star Niki Terpstra from Deceuninck – Quick-Step after the Dutchman won the 2018 Tour of Flanders.

Direct Energie is currently one of the teams waiting to learn if they have been given a wildcard spot in the 2019 Tour de France.

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Arkéa-Samsic and Vital Concept – B&B Hotels are also hoping to be given one of the two remaining places for Pro Continental teams.

Direct Energie missed out on a place at the Giro d’Italia this year as Israel Cycling Academy were welcomed back for a second year in a row.

The change of sponsor could lead to an increased budget for Direct Energie, which currently runs on around €10million, according to reports.

Total’s revenue was €244billion in 2018, compared with Direct Energie’s €1.99billion in 2017.

French media has speculated that Direct Energie could seek WorldTour status, joining France’s existing teams at the top tier, Ag2r La Mondiale and Groupama-FDJ.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.