French WorldTour team FDJ, new home of Canadian Antoine Duchesne, announced Wednesday that it had secured a new title co-sponsor, French insurance corporation Groupama. The squad will now be called Groupama-FDJ, but, somewhat confusingly, not until March of next season. Even through Groupama’s corporate colour is green, the team will stay in blue, red and white kits.
— Equipe FDJ (@EquipeFDJ) December 6, 2017
Groupama-FDJ is only the second title sponsor change so far for the 2018 WorldTour. Cannondale-Drapac will be henceforth EF Education First-Drapac presented by Cannondale, inevitably truncated to EF-Drapac.
FDJ has been around since 1997, when it was first called La Française des Jeux after its sponsor, France’s national lottery. This was shortened to FDJ in 2010. Its last co-sponsor was BigMat in 2012, a building material firm.
Groupama’s involvement will increase the team’s budget by 30% even though FDJ is reducing its contribution as the national lottery seeks to sponsor other sports.
FDJ’s central rider is Thibaut Pinot, third in the 2014 Tour de France and fourth in the 2017 Giro d’Italia. Another key man is Arnaud Démare, the 2016 Milan-San Remo champion who took three WorldTour stage wins in 2017. FDJ was the penultimate squad in the 2017 WorldTour team rankings and 11th in 2016.
Promising youth David Gaudu welcomed the change.
— David Gaudu (@DavidGaudu) December 6, 2017