Luca Mozzato, a rising Italian talent who secured five top ten finishes on stages at the Tour de France, believes the worst possible outcome would see the team continue in its current guise.
The second-division French team run by Jérôme Pineau had been expected to welcome new major sponsors for 2023, along with a string of big-name signings including Cavendish and lead-out man Max Richeze. However, a planned team presentation three weeks ago was cancelled with a day’s notice and there has been new news since, with reports in the French press indicating Pineau’s plans are far from secure, with time running out to secure new sponsors and register with the UCI for 2023.
While that may leave Cavendish and others in a tricky situation, Mozzato has suggested the team will at least continue in its current, unexpanded, structure. B&B Hotels were ranked 23rd, just behind Astana Qazaqstan and Uno-X in the UCI team ranking for 2022, securing a wild card invitation to the Tour de France and a number of other WorldTour races.
“I don’t know much more than what the media say, but I think it’s more a matter of understanding what the team’s budget will be,” Mozzato told Tuttobiciweb.
“In the worst case, the team should remain as this year’s, and that would be fine for me. At the moment I have no reason to worry.”
B&B Hotels-KTM, set up in 2018, failed to complete their registration with the UCI by the initial October 15 deadline, with Tuesday’s deadline of November 15 representing a more critical cut-off point.
There could still be an opportunity via an appeal process to the UCI Licence Committee but Pineau is in a race against time to find new sponsors, with Amazon France, Carrefour, Cdiscount, and the City of Paris all rumoured but never confirmed. The City of Paris was set to lend its name to the project but it later emerged it would not be contributing financially and may have withdrawn its support.
The B&B Hotels chain is understood to be on board for 2023, with sponsorship of five million Euro, which could, as Mozzato indicates, allow the team to continue next season with the riders it currently has under contract.
Mozzato himself signed a contract extension in the summer that takes him through 2025. The 24-year-old turned professional in 2020 and although he…