The French bike brand Lapierre has called time on its long standing partnership with Groupama-FDJ, it was revealed this week.
A press release sent to Cyclingnews by Pascal Care, Global PR Manager & Marketing Coordinator at Lapierre’s parent company, Accell Group, confirmed that the two sides would be parting ways on December 31.
The move comes after 22 years of collaboration between the two French outfits, the longest standing partnership in the sport today. It will, however, see the brand continue to support the similarly-named FDJ-Suez women’s team in 2024.
In a statement to Cyclingnews by Elisa Madiot-Gagnier, Head of Partner and Institutional Relations at the team, the decision is said to have come from Lapierre rather than a mutual agreement between the two sides.
“Lapierre reported last week that they will take a different road next year, after the end of our contract in December 31,” she said.
Despite this, team manager Marc Madiot was nothing but complementary of his outgoing supplier.
“This is the end of a historic partnership of more than twenty years and we will always remember our great performances on Lapierre bikes,” he began. “During these two decades we have co-developed some of the most efficient bikes in the world and it has been a wonderful adventure, full of success.”
In that time, the team has taken dozens of victories at the highest level, with wins at Milan-San Remo and grand tours with riders such as Philippe Gilbert and Bradley Wiggins. But no rider has left more of a mark than Thibaut Pinot, one of the sport’s most adored riders and a man who has been at the team since 2010; his entire professional career.
“We respect Lapierre’s choice to end the partnership,” Madiot continued. “Like every company, Lapierre must make strategic choices. The end of this collaboration is an illustration of this and we are respectful of this decision. Lapierre is and will remain a great bicycle brand.”
Naturally, the move opens the door for a new bike sponsor to step into Lapierre’s shoes. Inrng previously reported that Accell Group committed €1.5m to the team in 2023, so whichever brand steps in to fill Lapierre’s shoes will need to provide a cash injection as well as the provision of bikes.