Top-tier cycling team Française des Jeux (FDJ) have entered into commercial agreement with insurance group Groupama.
The French company has been confirmed as the new co-title sponsor of the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour team from March 2018, in a partnership which will see the team renamed Groupama-FDJ.
Despite the addition of the new sponsor, the team will retain the blue, white and red colours of the French flag.
French national lottery FDJ is, however, reducing its input into the team and will invest in other sporting ventures such as the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Groupama's investment will not only cover the deficit but increase the team's budget by roughly 30 per cent, with L'Equipe estimating that this will rise to somewhere in the region of €16 to €20 million a year.
An FDJ statement read: ‘Groupama and FDJ join forces today with the objective of becoming the top French cycling team in terms of means, and with resources on par with those of international teams, allowing us to set our sights on establishing ourselves among the top ten teams in the world.’
FDJ won 27 races over the 2017 UCI season. Domestic rider Thibaut Pinot competed in his first Giro d'Italia this year and won a stage. The 27-year old started the final stage of the Grand Tour in third place but eventually finished in fourth place overall.