Warren, Bryan, the road is up ahead!!! Can’t you see it? — it’s right there in front of you, mes amis! Warning: we have two Frenchmen on the loose and they are riding dangerously sideways on their bikes.
The news says that both Tour de France climbing sensation Warren Barguil (Sunweb) and sprinter Bryan Coquard (Direct Energy) are leaving their WorldTour squads for smaller, less funded French Pro Continental outfits. This is stupid in English and stupide in French.
Coming out of Le Grand Shindig, where Barguil won two mountain stages and the polka dot jersey, the buzz was crazy. Maybe he could win a grand tour, perhaps he could challenge Froome, rumors even linked him to Sky. Instead, Barguil decided to play it safe, stay home in France and keep it local in his home region of Brittany with the Breton Fortuneo-Oscaro team. Oh la la la loser.
Barguil is only 25 years of age so he has a few seasons to waste if he so choses. Plenty of time to course correct after he spends two years trying to make an impact on a team with less depth, resources and logistical support. He’ll be the top dog in a very small kennel filled with cute little puppies. That’s nice and we can appreciate the sense of loyalty, his devotion to his roots. Chapeau for repping the neighborhood.
That said, Barguil’s career trajectory would have been better served by staying at Sunweb or signing with another WorldTour outfit dying for a big time climber on a fast ascent. No doubt Bahrain–Merida or the UAE Team Emirates formations would have been delighted to throw some major petro-dollars at him, along with a small desert palace attended by harem girls and armed guards.
We’d sum it up this way, for a star climber who spends a lot of time in the high mountains, Barguil shows a distinct lack of vision.
The same can be same of fastman and nice guy Bryan Coquard. After a long and fruitful stay at Direct Energy, he told his boss Jean-Rene Bernaudeau that he planned to change teams. Bernaudeau promptly got extremely petty and crossed Coquard off his Tour de France roster, a move that showed zero class.
Coquard’s new plan is apparently to sign with the new Vital Concept squad being put together by Jerome Pineau. While there is some talk of him joining WorldTour big boys Quickstep Floors or Lotto Soudal, the Frenchman will likely take the same road as Barguil and go local with Vital Concept.
It’s a decision that cyclingnews.com labeled as “a sideways move.” We couldn’t agree more. Stay at home, lose the backup and support that comes with a bigger budget and a bold step outside France. This is not a growth trajectory, it’s the “I just want to be comfortable” fall-back. Again, big fish in small pond far from the bright lights, podium girls and champagne.
Based on the quotes we’ve read, Coquard and Barguil believe they’re making the right sporting decision. Coquard says he is looking for a “fresh impetus” while over at Fortuneo-Oscaro, team manager Emmanuel Hubert speaks of Barguil’s desire to “conquer new territories.” Fresh and new territory doesn’t sound like a sideways move and the safe, home-body choice.