Groupama-FDJ extend contracts with their biggest stars, including Thibaut Pinot

The French team are sticking with their current leaders for Grand Tours, sprints and time trials

Thibaut Pinot wins stage 14 of the Tour de France 2019 (Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

While the pro racing scene has been frozen for the last few months, Groupama-FDJ are investing in their future by extending contracts with their four biggest stars.

The French WorldTour squad has re-signed Grand Tour hopeful Thibaut Pinot, rising star David Gaudu, sprinter Arnaud Démare and time trial specialist Stefan Küng through to 2023.

Many teams are facing an uncertain future in the fallout from the coronavirus crisis, but both of Groupama-FDJ’s title sponsors have committed to the team until 2024.

Team manager Marc Madiot said: “Extending this quartet of riders is an obvious decision. Each one of them brings his own contribution to the team.

“Since the team’s inception, we have always been and remain committed to our riders over the long term.

“Very often, they are riders who have become professionals with us so that we have a relationship of trust and very high ambitions. I remain convinced that in order to achieve extremely high sporting goals, you have to be committed to the long term.”

Groupama-FDJ made no secret that their main ambition is to win a Grand Tour, as Pinot said he wants to commit himself to winning the Tour de France.

The Frenchman had the 2019 Tour within his grasp heading into the final few days of racing, but he was forced to abandon the race on stage 19 after suffering muscle damage to his leg that ruled him out of the for the rest of the season.

But Pinot still hopes to deliver on his potential, having finished third in the Tour back in 2013.

The 30-year-old said: “Leaving, when I arrive in my best years would have left me with a taste of unfinished business. I haven’t finished writing my story with this team. I’m firmly convinced that we’re still going to build great things and win the best races. The Tour de France is obviously still the ultimate goal for which I want to devote myself 100 per cent.

Groupama are also looking to the future be re-signing 23-year-old David Gaudu, who looks to be at the forefront of the next generation of French Grand Tour contenders.

Gaudu picked up a WorldTour stage victory at the Tour de Romandie last year and went in to finish 13th overall in the 2019 Tour.

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He said: “Today we can say that my learning phase is over. From now on I will be able to play a more assertive role within the team and the sports management will also have high expectations of me. I’ll be there to help my leaders win certain races, but I’ll also be aiming to win races that are meant for me. The next three years are going to be exciting and I’m lucky that the team is offering me these great opportunities. “

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