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

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

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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.