What future for the B&B Hotels team? The training based in Theix, Morbihan, hopes to grow next year, with a budget of around 15 million euros. The City of Paris must put its name, new sponsors must arrive, a new legal structure must see the light, even a women’s team … But it is slow and time is running out. Although the team has not yet registered for the International Cycling Union for the next season (it will have to do so by November 22), the press conference for the presentation of the team scheduled for the end of October on the eve of the Tour presentation has been canceled …
The plan is in fact the following: the legal entity PCE (Pineau Cycling Evolution) becomes PCC (Paris Cycling City), with its share of changes: a modified circle of shareholders, a new board of directors (with Didier Quillot, former general manager of the Professional Football League, the Pineau brothers, Thomas Le Drian, son of Jean-Yves, in particular), the arrival of new members, a change of banking establishment. But what should we deduce from this “delay” as Jérôme Pineau, manager and daring creator of the team five years ago admitted last month? Officially, within the team, until now, all the staff remain confident, convinced by the tenor of Jérôme Pineau’s speech. However, what about the true future of B&B Hotels? In the absence of greatness, won’t the team now have to save face and above all try to start with a lower budget? Without a women’s team then? And without Mark Cavendish, who agreed?
Concretely, in any case, the team moves forward almost as if nothing had happened. Once the coverage programs are over, the training courses are set, the new BMC bikes arrive… Except that behind the scenes, and of course, the riders can’t help but wonder. Some have contacted the National Union of Professional Cyclists (UNCP), the union of cyclists. This is confirmed by its president, former rider Pascal Chanteur. He is also vice president of the National Cycling League and has already experienced twice in his career a situation where the future of his team was not decided in November. Maintenance.
“The runners are anxious, worried”
Pascal, has any pilot from the B&B Hotels team contacted your union?
Yes it was. And it is completely normal. It seems logical to me that runners need to probe us, call us, to get answers to their questions. We are there for this, and when they need us, we are with them. We are there to bring them support, information … I have felt them worried, anxious. These are the two words that come to my mind. But that’s normal, of course. I know that the manager does his best to give information to his drivers and all his staff, but they read, they hear things… They inevitably ask themselves, even if they trust their manager. We also had runners’ agents contacting us for information.
What is your role in this case?
To listen to them and reassure them, whenever possible. Many drivers, staff, could find themselves unemployed, without a team, if things don’t go the right way. We need to be close to the pilots to make sure none of them are in a delicate situation. That the rights, the contracts, are respected.
“I realized it was difficult to go on …”
How do you feel about the team situation?
First of all, I want to be as kind as possible with them, with the staff, with the pilots, etc. I wish the team the best, really, and I hope this episode ends well, that the situation is resolved. I think it’s still possible and I believe it, let’s be clear. But once I’ve said that, you also have to face it. And having had Jérôme (Pineau) earlier in the week, I’m not necessarily reassured. He didn’t bring more elements (about sponsors) of those I could read in the press some time ago. He made it clear to me that he was still in talks with the Paris Commune and some other people. I realized that it was difficult to go on… So that didn’t reassure me much, I have to say. I know they went to the DNCG at the beginning of the week, but now it is urgent, because a dossier will have to be submitted to the International Cycling Union by 22 November. It’s November 10th, and if there is, something is wrong, there is a problem. There, it’s a total blur. The same artistic blur. I am very worried about the situation. I have a feeling there was only plan A planned and no plan B. It’s mid-November, it would have been nice to have one, right? But hey, an important meeting was supposed to be held today (Thursday 10th November), so we’ll see. Because I repeat, I want to trust Jérôme Pineau, I know he does the best.
“I hope this moment can be useful to Jérôme Pineau”
It’s also your role to support him …
Of course ! I am worried, but I support him. I also know what the current climate is, what cycling has been through for two years and the Covid crisis, it is not easy and it would be very inappropriate for me to condemn what is happening. I just hope this moment will serve Jérôme (Pineau) for years to come. I sincerely want that because I know what runners go through. I know, in their place, that we always want it to work but that in the end it doesn’t always work out. I’ve lived through that situation twice. Once, he is a reporter from The group who told me on Christmas day that the La Poste project, in 1992, would not be realized… It is a constant stress. Today the team is not yet registered, the drivers are hanging on the phone, it’s tough.