‘Men in Glaz’ sent scrambling for new teams as last funding hopes fall through

Jérôme Pineau has reportedly told B&B Hotels riders it's time to look for a new team as he fails to pin down sufficient sponsorship.

by Kit Nicholson

photography by Cor Vos

After what seems like months of uncertainty, it looks like the B&B Hotels saga is finally coming to a close as team boss Jérôme Pineau concedes and releases his riders.

Given the events of the past few months, a few riders already had a new home lined up in case of their new team’s collapse – including Ramon Sinkeldam – but many more are left to scrap for the last remaining berths with just four weeks left before January 1, when new team kit is peeled from its static packaging as the new season begins.

Pineau had been given a number of extensions past the UCI team registration deadline, the Frenchman still hoping to pin down increased sponsorship for a revamped ProTeam and women’s squad for 2023. The likes of Carrefour, Amazon France, CDiscount, Engie, and perfume and cosmetics brand Sephora were among the potential sources of funding for next season, but all the negotiations fell through, including the recent suggestion that Breton company B&B Hotels might be prepared to re-consider their contribution.

The last deadline to confirm sufficient funds for 2023 passes Pineau by early this week, and with negotiations failing, it appears that the ambitious project is over.

Le Télégramme reported that the Frenchman spoke with his riders via video call on Friday, letting them know they could look for other options while the former pro attempts to salvage a Continental outfit – which would presumably give many of the incumbent Frenchmen a ride next season.

On Monday morning, the first relocation was confirmed with the announcement of Ramon Sinkeldam’s two-year deal at Alpecin-Deceuninck, making sense of the rumour that the Dutch lead-out rider would be a ‘guest’ at the Alpecin team camp this week. Incidentally, this completes the team’s 30-rider roster for next season as it steps up to WorldTeam status, so there’s no more room at the inn.

Among the others left scrambling are incoming riders Mark Cavendish, Maximilian Richeze, Cees Bol, Nick Schultz and Stephen Williams, along with existing B&B names including Pierre Rolland, Franck Bonnamour, Luca Mozzato, 2022 revelation Axel Laurance and Belgian Classics and lead-out specialist Jens Debusschere. Then there’s the whole women’s team headed up by Audrey Cordon Ragot, about which very little has been said for months.

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