Total Direct Energie have unveiled their new kit, which the team will wear for the first time at this Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix.
Gas and oil giant Total bought out utility provider Direct Energie last summer in a €1.4billion (£1.1billion) deal, leading to a change of the team’s title sponsor.
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Gone is the familiar black and yellow strip, and in comes a distinctly French kit, which Niki Terpstra and Lilian Calmejane showed off on the team’s Twitter.
The kit involves light blue shoulders and chest, with a dark blue midriff and shorts, separated by a white band around the middle that continues down the side of the strip. Red sleeves and short cuffs complete the Tricolore look, it’s so French you can already hear Lilian Calmejane turning his pedals down the Champs-Élysées this July.
Total Direct Energie were awarded one of the two final wildcard entries for this year’s Tour de France. Announced alongside André Greipel’s Arkéa-Samsic, they will join Cofidis and Wanty-Gobert in making up the four second-tier teams to roll out in Brussels this July.
Total’s 2018 revenue was €244billion compared with Direct Energie’s €1.99billion in 2017, which could mean an increased budget for the team, who apparently currently run on around €10 million a year.
Their main chance for success on the cobbles at Paris-Roubaix was double Monument winner Niki Terpstra, signed from Deceuninck – Quick-Step, but the Dutchman was hospitalised with ‘severe concussion’ after a crash in last week’s Tour of Flanders.
The team was formed in 2000, under the name Bonjour, then becoming Brioches La Boulangère and Bougues Télécom, before car rental firm Europcar took over in 2011 with Direct Energie then coming on board in 2016. The team’s most notable riders over the years include Sylvain Chavanel and Thomas Voeckler.
There has also been speculation in the French media that Direct Energie will try to gain WorldTour status, joining Ag2r La Mondiale and Groupama-FDJ as the French representation at the top tier of road racing.