Bryan Coquard one of 15 riders to sign for new French Professional Continental team

New Vital Concept to aim for wildcard for 2018 Tour de France

Bryan Coquard at the 2016 Tour de France
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Bryan Coquard is the biggest name of 15 riders heading to Vital Concept, a new French Professional Continental team set up by former professional rider Jerôme Pineau.

The new team takes Vital Concept as a principal sponsor after the agricultural manufacturer separated from Fortuneo shortly before the Tour de France. The addition of a secondary sponsor is expected to give the team a total budget of around €6 million.

Vital Concept will enter the sport at the second division Professional Continental level, aiming to secure a wildcard invitation to the 2018 Tour de France.

>>> Bryan Coquard omitted from Direct Energie Tour de France squad after contract snub

Key to that ambition will be star rider Bryan Coquard, the French sprinter being the most well-known of 15 riders to have already signed up to the team, having departed by Direct Energie.

Julien Morice also joins from Direct Energie, while Marc Fournier, Kevin Reza, Johan Le Bon, and Lorrenzo Manzin all make the move from WorldTour outfit FDJ.

Steven Lammertink (LottoNL-Jumbo), Bert De Backer (Team Sunweb), and Kris Boeckmans and Jonas Van Genechten (Lotto-Soudal) are the other riders to join from WorldTour teams.

Yoann Bagot (Cofidis), Corentin Ermenault (Team Wiggins) Jérémy Lecroq (Roubaix-Lille Métropole), neo-pro Justin Mottier, and Quentin Pacher (Delko-Marseille Provence-KTM) are the remaining riders to have been signed so far, with Pineau hoping to add five more to create a 20-strong roster.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.